KOLKATA, India – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is looking to partner with an Indian company that manufactures low-cost toilets.
The Gates Foundation is involved in negotiations with Stone Biotech, a branch of Stone India which produces toilets that provide low-cost sanitation solutions without sewage connections. The toilets manufactured by Stone Biotech cost less than 5 cents a day to operate.
The non-profit has been interested in new sanitation solutions for some time, recognizing the global water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) crisis. Just last year the Gates Foundation organized the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, in which it delivered $3.4 million in prize money to universities that developed safe and sustainable ways to manage human waste and deliver sanitation to the 2.5 billion people around the world who don’t have access to it.
The bio-toilets made by Stone Biotech have been being used on Indian railway systems, preventing discharge of human waste onto railroad tracks and not requiring access to running water or a sewer system.
The toilets deliver this sustainable sanitation solution by using of bacteria to decompose human waste. The waste is broken down into gas and water by bacteria, and then the water is sent to another compartment in the toilet to be disinfected by chlorine. The water can then be pumped back into the overhead tank of the toilet for further use, and the water pump itself is solar powered.
The Gates Foundation is likely to place a trial order for 1,000 units for immediate use in Bangladesh. If all goes well in Bangladesh, it is likely that these toilets could be utilized for sanitation in developing countries in Africa as well. Places without reliable access to water or power in the developing world can’t afford to use their limited resources on conventional sewage systems which take large amount of both to run. Stone Biotech’s bio-toilets are an innovative solution to help fight the global WASH crisis.
– Martin Drake
Sources: Hindu Business Line, Gates Foundation, The Hindu, Stone Biotech
Photo: India TV