Indian Railways has achieved 100% target of installing Bio-toilets in trains by introducing more than 2,45,400 bio-toilets in railway coaches under the ‘Swachh Rail, Swachh Bharat’ campaign.
Railways have taken several necessary steps so far to eliminate the dirt on the railway tracks and keep the platform clean. One of the most important initiatives in this regard is the installation of Bio-toilets in trains.
Bio toilets have been installed in mail/express trains on behalf of Railways to disinfect human faeces and urine through bacteria. In the Swachh Bharat Mission launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, bio-toilets in trains have an essential role. In 2013, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) issued a report stating that around 4,000 tonnes of sewage fall on the railway track per day from the toilets of trains alone, which is equivalent to 497 trucks. To eliminate this, the Railways has accomplished the goal of installing bio-toilets in all trains.
Bio-Toilets Have Been Installed in 100% Trains of Indian Railways
Indian Railways has installed Bio-toilets in more than 68,000 coaches of trains under the ‘Swachh Rail, Swachh Bharat’ campaign. According to a statement issued by the railways, in the year 2019-20, 49,487 bio-toilets were installed in 14,916 coaches. A total of 2,45,400 bio-toilets in 68,800 rail coaches have been introduced with 100% coverage. This feat has been achieved at a time when the country is reeling from the catastrophe of the Corona epidemic, and the only way to prevent this infection is to maintain cleanliness and proper hygiene.
What is Bio-toilet?
Bio-toilets have been invented jointly by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Indian Railways. Bio-toilets contain anaerobic bacteria in bio-digester containers under the toilet that turn human faeces into water and gases. In this process, only methane gas and water remain after the sewage is decomposed. Then, the water can be recycled and used in the toilets. These gases are released into the atmosphere while contaminated water is released onto the tracks after chlorination.
What are the Benefits of Bio-toilets?
1. Human faeces were dumped directly on the railway tracks by traditional toilets, thereby damaging the metal of the rail tracks along with spreading dirt in the environment. With bio-toilets, this will not happen.
2. At least 10 to 15 litres of water was spent on flushing toilets once. In contrast, vacuum-based bio-toilet uses only half litre water in a flush.
3. Stations of India will now become cleaner and odourless, which is a good step towards preventing many diseases.
4. The number of mosquitoes, cockroaches and mice will reduce at the station, and the mice will not be able to destruct the railway tracks.
5. Labourers who had to clean human faeces manually will get rid of this dirty work.
Bio-toilets Have Changed the Face of Indian Railways
The main reason behind putting Bio-toilets in the coach of passenger trains was to prevent faeces from falling on the railway tracks. Many times, passengers use toilets while the train is standing on the platform. The wastes cause problems for both the track maintenance and the cleaning staff.
After installation of bio-toilets in trains, the amount of faeces on tracks has reduced by about 80 to 90 per cent. At the same time, the work of track maintenance has also increased.
Railways have its Lab to Maintain Bio-toilets
Railways May Replace All Bio-Toilets to the Most Advanced Vacuum Bio-Toilets
After installing bio-toilets in almost all trains of Indian Railways, now advanced vacuum bio-toilets may replace them. Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal said that to compete with aviation companies, the Railways is improving its facilities and replacing modern toilets in trains as a part of this plan. Goyal said, “We are also applying vacuum bio-toilets in trains like aircraft. About 500 vacuum bio-toilets have been ordered. If this experiment is successful, I am willing to spend money to replace all the 2.5 lakh bio-toilets in trains and replace them with vacuum bio-toilets.”
If the Railways revamp its plan and undertake the installation of vacuum bio-toilets in trains, then it will have to spend about Rs 700 crores. It costs 2.5 lakh rupees to install one vacuum bio-toilet. The use of water can be reduced considerably with the vacuum bio-toilet and is based on state-of-the-art technology.
On-Board House Keeping Service (OBHS) Equipped in Indian Railways
The integrated mechanized cleaning system has also been arranged in the Railways at 953 railway stations across the country. More than 1,100 trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto, and other long-distance mail/express trains have also been equipped with On-board House Keeping Service (OBHS) facility. It enables cleaning of coaches’ toilets, doorways, and passengers’ compartments during the journey.