Project Swacchalaya: U-Respect Foundation–Care Today Initiative
The geographical area for the project is one pada (hamlet) of Village Alyani in Shahpur taluka, Thane district. The total number of households in this pada is 125 of which the need is for a total of 123 units of eco-friendly toilets.
A Community Participative Initiative
From the very onset, the project was meant to be a community driven initiative, with U-Respect Foundation hand-holding them, and arranging to build the toilet units for them. The community has agreed to provide labour required to build the units (Shramdaan). The name of the project, “Swacchaalay”, was evolved by the Alyani community themselves.
Since the project is benchmarked on U-Respect’s existing health project with a toll free number, the same toll free number is now extend for all sanitation-related queries; and since U-Respect particularly measures impact of all its interventions, here too, a questionnaire was developed and baseline indicators of all waterborne diseases in the last three months was collected from the 125 households. Once all toilets are constructed and people start using them regularly, a similar study will be conducted three months post-toilet use, to gauge any differences in the health indicators as against the baseline estimates.
The Sanitation Solution
A toilet with an extended compost-generating feature can be provided at comparable cost. Use of pre-fabricated blocks for construction would help both in ease of construction and in cost optimization in large scale toilet construction. However local material can also be used (for example, bricks). The design effectively comprises of the toilet per se and an extended aerobic chamber. Our approach will focus on one toilet per household. Toilet sewage flow is into a small compact chamber in the rear of the toilet unit and solid waste processing takes place in the chamber with wall filters into which earthworms have been introduced (a one-time requirement). Waste is processed in a matter of hours resulting in compost formation. Toilet and waste processing chamber design have been standardized and readily available for future large scale use. In short, a zero waste model comprising of cellular, light-weight concrete block toilets and in totality ensuring a disease free environment is the highlight of this technology. Single toilet unit at optimal cost and consisting of energy efficient and eco-frie ndly blocks is also a key highlight.
Alternatively essentially in the interim we propose a household toilet with waste flowing into a conventional soak pit for sewage accumulation. The soak pit will be constructed to standardized design for effective functioning.