India has a population of around 1.2 billion people and it is astonishing that 55 % of this population do not have access to toilets.
No access to toilets means open defecation which ultimately leads to various kinds of diseases. The situation of absence of toilets in even very critical for school going children specially for girls. It has been observed that girls with age between 12 to 16 remains absent from school for atleast 5 days in a month during their menstruation cycle. Why?, because of absence of descent toilet facility in school. In a place like in India,where we promote “Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan” or “Beti Bachao,Beti Padhao” programs very rigorously but still there is non availability of toilets in schools.
As per the study of CRY (Children rights and you):
- 11 % of the schools do not have basic sanitation facility.
- Only 18% of the schools have separate toilet for girls.
- 34% school toilets are not in a condition to be used. Apart from lack of toilet facility,there exists also a problem of maintenance of toilets. Many people do not use toilet and go for open defecation because of unhygienic and unclean toilets.
Under all these circumstances,if we talk of making cities smart,then it won’t be justified.Right?
But, wait India is changing. India is moving towards the use of E-Toilets. E-Toilets are India’s first fully automatic toilet with easy maintenance, portable and eco-friendly. Electronic Toilets (e-toilets), one of the major innovations in the public health, hygiene, and sanitation sector.
E-Toilet incorporates full cycle approach in sustainable sanitation by integrating convergence of electronics, mechanical, web-mobile technologies thereby controlling entry, usage, cleaning, exit, and remote monitoring capabilities with multiple revenue options.
The insertion of a coin opens the door of the eToilet for the user, its sensor-based light system is automatically turned on once you enter the toilet which remains turned on during the duration of presence of user which leads to saving of energy. It comes with solar power options also. It also directs the user with audio commands for visually impaired people. The toilets are programmed to flush 1.5 liters of water after 3 minutes of usage or 4.5 liters if usage is longer, thus saves a lot of wastage of water. It can also be programmed to clean the platform with a complete wash down after every 5 or 10 persons use the toilet which makes its maintenance easy and hygienic.
There is also an instruction note pasted on the door of these toilets which makes it user to read all the usage instruction for smooth usage. Now here comes an important part which is the cost involved in each toilet. These toilets cost Rs 2 lacs for the basic version and 4-5 lacs for the stainless steel version.
It is mostly funded by MP/MLA funds or by local bodies like Panchayat or by any corporate companies under corporate social responsibility. Like Kerala- based Eram Scientific Solutions plans to install 1,500 electronic public toilets (e-toilets) in the country in association with companies including Tata Consultancy Service (TCS) by the end of 2017.
Now,Where it should be placed?
It should not be placed very near to very crowded places but at the same time,it should be accessible by all. In current situations, the Eram team has so far managed to construct 500 such toilets in 10 states of India, including 150 e Toilets in various schools.The team is not just constructing the toilets but also making people realise the importance of cleanliness and hygiene.
Author Bio: Abhisek Kumar,B.Tech graduate in Civil engineering and currently pursuing (final semester) Masters in Planning (Housing) from NIT Bhopal. I have deep interest in Smart cities, Affordable housing.