At present, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is operating 27 sections as Green Corridors and all the trains running on these sections are equipped with bio-toilets. According to the ministry, installing bio-toilets on trains ensures there is no direct discharge of human waste on the tracks.
Bio-toilets in Indian Railways: In its initiative to provide clean and improved toilets, Indian Railways had decided to install bio toilets in train coaches. Till March 2018, the national transporter has fitted about 1,25,000 bio-toilets in its coaches, says a Railway Ministry release. In January 2011, 57 bio-toilets were introduced in one train i.e. Gwalior-Varanasi Bundelkhand Express. According to Railway Ministry, the highest ever bio-toilets in train coaches were installed during 2017-18. The total number of bio-toilets installed in 2017-18 is 40 per cent higher than the set target of 40,000 bio-toilets and 64 per cent higher than the installation of 34,134 bio-toilets in 2016-17. At present, Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is operating 27 sections as Green Corridors and all the trains running on these sections are equipped with bio-toilets. According to the ministry, installing bio-toilets on trains ensures there is no direct discharge of human waste on the tracks.
The “bio-toilet project” of Indian Railways is first of its kind, being used by any railroad in the world for on-board accelerated digestion of human waste. The bio-toilets in trains are installed underneath the lavatories and the human waste discharged into them is then acted upon by a colony of anaerobic bacteria. Further to this, the bacteria converts the human waste mainly into water and small amount of bio-gases, which escape into atmosphere and waste water is discharged after chlorination onto the track. Thus, the human waste does not fall on the railway tracks. Indian Railways claims that this helps to maintain cleanliness and hygiene on platforms, and facilitate track and coaches maintenance staff to perform their work more efficiently.
The ‘Make in India’ bio-toilets in Indian Railways, have been developed jointly by Indian Railways’ Engineers & DRDO’s scientists. The initiative is one of the examples where the technology developed for defence applications has been used for civilian purpose. Moreover, the collaboration between DRDO, RDSO and the field units of Indian Railways have facilitated the adaption and large scale deployment of the technology.
According to Railway Ministry, each day approximately 4,000 MT of human waste is discharged from train coaches. However, with the introduction of bio-toilets in 60 per cent train coaches commensurate human discharge in open, has been eliminated. In addition to the efforts made by Indian Railways, the success of the “Bio-Toilet project” largely depends on the co-operation of valued customers or passengers of Indian Railways by not throwing any in-organic material like bottles, polythene, napkins, paper or plastic cups, paper, nappies, cloth, ghutka pouches, cigarette or bidi buds etc. in toilet pans or bowls.