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Monday, June 7, 2010

Railways opt for green toilets - Lucknow - City - The Times of India

Railways opt for green toilets -
UCKNOW: Waiting at the platform and looking at a railway track, especially during morning, might not be a repulsive sight in coming days. Green toilets will come as a succour from nauseation.

The new toilet-technology also promises to keep up with not-so-disciplined Indian toilet habits, separating before disposal the non-degradable waste that passengers mostly flush in toilets. Then disposing it all at terminal stations in an environment-friendly manner.

“Green toilets aim at zero-defecation on the ground,” says Mahesh Kumar, director, carriage, Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO). Thus not only making it a likable sight at stations but also preventing damage to tracks by way of corrosion.
“Fecal matter on tracks is one of the biggest causes of corrosion,” says KBL Mittal, DG, RDSO. The project has been on since 2006. However, a major breakthrough will come its way this financial year with RDSO going in for its extended trial. Once done with it, new coaches will have this design and conventional toilets undergo a conversion.

As many as 200 coaches on Indian Railways will have environment-friendly toilets this fiscal. The four technologies, which RDSO has developed with IIT-Kanpur and DRDE, Gwalior, have all gone through initial phase of trials on trains like Gwalior-Barauni, Reva Express and Prayagraj. “The results are satisfactory with 90% success rate,” says Mittal. Vacuum toilets, zero-discharge toilets, Aerobic and Anaerobic bio toilets are the types.

The toilets have been designed keeping in mind Indian requirements like long distance travel and toilet habits. The retention tanks will store the waste and be emptied at terminal stations into sewage lines thus not dropping the waste all along the track. The solid and liquid waste will be separated in the tank, while liquid will be re-cycled and used, a bacteria will disintegrate the solid waste thus making it non-polluting to environment.

Currently, train toilets are of direct discharge type. As the railway network grows and number of passengers increases, open discharge of waste will be a bigger problem. “This is one major reason why green toilets are required,” says DK Agarwal, ED, RDSO. Besides, railways’ own maintenance staff will not have to face unhygienic conditions while working on tracks.

Railway board has formed a core group for ‘environment-friendly toilets’ to look after implementation of different technologies and has fixed a target to provide 1024 green toilets in current financial year.


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