Self-Maintained Delight Toilets in India

Sanitation in developing countries is often a major issue, especially when it comes to public facilities. In a country such as India where the homeless crowd the streets and a general sense of cleanliness and street maintenance is disregarded, systems such as the Delight toilets are welcomed with open arms.

The toilets are more or less remotely maintained. Everything inside the toilet from the flushing to the lights and fans is automatic. Having individual stalls function automatically greatly reduces the costs of keeping the toilets clean and also streamline their upkeep to a central monitoring agency. Water is conserved by judging based on the amount of time a person spends in the stall. The shorter amount of time, the less amount of water used to flush. To keep the stall clean, water is flushed every two hours.

Eram Scientific Solutions is the company that is building these toilets in cities such as Delhi, Kozhikode, and Kerala and hopes to install 6,000 more. Backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the systems will pay for themselves. Users will have to deposit a small amount of money to use the public facility (a commonality in most countries other than the United States). There is also an advertising room which charges companies anywhere from 1 to 5 rupees.

Keeping large cities such as Delhi and Mumbai clean is important in alleviating the stereotypes that developing countries carry with them. Not only do the Delight toilets help alleviate the image of a dirty and unpleasant city, but their model of sustainability will also facilitate more efficient and logical management of public facilities which usually tend to be misused and closed. While the toilets may not change the lives of those living in rural villages, and although they do charge a small fee, “The ultimate beneficiaries [of the Delight] are the urban poor who have no alternative access to hygienic public sanitation facilities.”

– Deena Dulgerian

Source: Co.EXIST