No human waste will now be discharged from coaches on track after the Central Railway and Western Railway have completed the installation of bio-toilets on its entire fleet.
Central Railway runs 103 trains with a composition of 3079 coaches in service. Similarly, Western Railway runs 186 trains with a composition of 5,610 coaches in service. All these coaches are now fully-fitted with Bio-toilets.
"Human waste leads to corrosion of rails and fittings. After bio-toilets were introduced in all passenger trains on CR and WR, the railways have been saving around a hundred crores per annum on the cost of changing rails and fittings," said a senior railway official.
"Bio-toilet is a dry toilet that treats human waste by a biological process called composting. It decomposes human excretory waste in the digester tank using specific high graded bacteria (aerobic or anaerobic), further converting it into methane gas, carbon dioxide gas and water. It treats human waste at the source. A collection of anaerobic bacteria that has been adapted to work at temperatures as low as -5°C and as high as 50°C act as inocula (seed material) to the bio-digesters and convert the organic human waste into water, methane, and carbon dioxide gases. The anaerobic process inactivates the pathogens responsible for water-borne diseases and treats the excreta without the use of an external energy source. " said Shivaji Sutar, Chief Public Relations Officer of CR.
"Apart from regular coaches, all the spare coaches available in the fleet of Central Railway (normally used to run special trains) are also fitted with bio-toilets. This has ensured that no human waste is discharged from coaches on track" he added.
"Western railway also fitted bio-toilets on its entire fleet," said an official of WR adding that stickers/stainless steel plates were pasted/fitted on lavatory doors and inside coach lavatory to inform the passenger about the installation of bio-toilet.
Asked about the foul smell, an official of CR said, "Venturi type toilet ventilation systems are being provided in every toilet." The Venturi system concept will ensure cross ventilation of fresh air in the toilets.
However, sometimes bio-toilets are choked as passengers dump cigarette butts, gutka pouches, plastic water bottles, plastic covers, liquor bottles and food waste into it, said the official.
“In spite of instructions pasted on the walls, people continue to throw various objects in it. Keeping in mind this problem, the railways is not only deploying housekeeping teams in trains but have also launched several awareness programmes to educate the passengers,” said another CR official.