Before the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), sanitation facilities in India were scarce, with over 600 million people (half of India’s population) having no access to toilets, particularly in rural areas. People were forced to defecate in the open, which posed health hazards, raising environmental concerns and leading to water contamination.
The bioloo addresses the following customer needs/pain points:
• The need for basic, easy-to-install and hygienic human waste disposal mechanism in areas with no infrastructural facilities;
• The need for a cheaper and easy-to-operate alternative to the traditional waste disposal system.
The bio-digester technology treats human waste at source. A consortium of anaerobic bacteria was formulated and adapted to work at temperatures as low as -5°C and as high as 50°C. These act as inoculums (seed material) to the bio-digesters and convert the organic human waste into water, methane and carbon-dioxide. The anaerobic process inactivates the pathogens responsible for water-borne diseases. Bio-digesters serve as reaction vessel for bio-methanation and provide anaerobic conditions, and required temperature for the bacteria. The special design of the bio-digester tank can be customized as per the requirement and need of the client or end-user/beneficiary, and these toilets are “zero discharge” human waste solution.
Salient features of the bioloo:
• No foul smell in toilets from the bio-digester tanks
• No need for removal of solid waste – hence nil maintenance
• Effluent water is free from odour and solid waste
• Reduction in pathogens by 99% and organic matter by 90%
• Limited / no requirement of adding bacteria, if used regularly
• Use of general toilet-cleaning agents is permitted
• No infestation of cockroaches, flies and other insects
The bioloo comprises a toilet super-structure (or cabin) and a bio-digester tank (containing the bacteria) beneath or behind, placed underground in stationary use; and hung below the toilet in mobility, such as train toilets.
All the three components – cabin, tank and bacteria are manufactured/produced at the plants of Banka BioLoo. These, along with plumbing and fitting items, are transported to the sites and installed by the installation team members. The toilet cabin is made of reinforced concrete cement (RCC) panels and the stationary bio-digester tank is made of fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) while the mobile ones are of stainless steel.
Banka BioLoo has been involved in developing environmentally-friendly sanitation products and providing services since 2009; initially servicing and supplying components of control discharge toilet system (CDTS) to the Indian Railways. In early 2012, Banka BioLoo became aware of the bio-digester technology developed by Indian defense arm, DRDO, for the armed forces personnel. The inoculated bacteria “eat away” the human feces and release pathogen-free water that can be directly used for gardening and agriculture. If left to seep into the ground, it recharges the water table. Banka BioLoo saw immense benefit of this technology for providing standalone eco-friendly bio-toilets or bioloos for the vast toilet-less underserved population of India. Since 2012, Banka BioLoo has successfully installed thousands of bioloos across India: in trains, communities and public places, schools, homes, institutes, offices, hotels, health care facilities, work sites such as manufacturing facilities, factories, mines and many similar settings.
The bioloo plays an important role in eradicating the malaise of open defecation. Even if people have toilets, and the human waste is not treated, it leads to environmental degradation and water contamination. To meet Sustainable Development Goal 6, the bioloo is a fitting solution; and was selected as one of the 14 solutions (from over 800 global nominations) to be presented at the first UN Solutions Summit in 2015.
The bio-digester technology was primarily fructified for the defense personnel in far-flung areas, with no access to sanitation facilities. It is an indigenous technology developed in the Indian defense lab, and Banka BioLoo has been applying it effectively and further researching and using for the benefit of the vast vulnerable and marginalized population. The bioloo is a sound sanitation solution over conventional toilet systems, as well as for providing toilet facilities where none exist(ed).
Banka BioLoo partners with a diverse set of organizations such as Indian Railways, central/state/local government bodies, state-owned enterprises, publicly-traded and private companies, multinational corporations, foundations, non-profit organizations, construction and infrastructure companies, plantations, defense and paramilitary forces.
To further develop the social innovation in sanitation, partnership with philanthropies helps to provide bioloos to populations at-risk, or the people at the base of the pyramid (BoP). These organizations raise funds or get grants and we work together in identifying disadvantaged families (having no toilets) whom we could provide with bioloos. After that we have a consensus on the budget and the materials to be used for bioloos. Needs and count of family members are understood, to provide the right sizing. Together, Banka BioLoo, the non-profit and the beneficiary family work out the site details, the placement of the bioloo and the bio-tank beside that. After installation, periodic interaction with the families and the end-users is done to ensure everything is functioning fine, and to get feedback on the system and the effluent water. The team members also train end-users on effective sanitation and hygiene habits. If they wish to use the effluent water for gardening, the support is provided.
School sanitation has been one of the foremost utilities of bioloos. Banka BioLoo partnered with many public sector enterprises and private companies, through corporate social responsibility (CSR) in providing thousands of bioloos for the underprivileged boys and girls studying in government-supported schools all over India. The bioloos ensured sanitation and hygiene access in these schools, leading to higher attendance rates and fewer dropouts. Banka BioLoo, deep-hearted, supports the water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) in schools’ program (WinS).
Similarly, WaSH4Work is another global theme supported by Banka BioLoo, actuated by installing bioloos in various workplace settings, already elaborated above. On the same lines, WASH in health care facilities (WaSH-in-HCF) is another WHO- and other global organizations-supported program that is supported by Banka BioLoo, by installing bioloos in primary healthcare centers in villages and towns.
The innovation serves all sections of the society through the day, wherever the person stays, works or studies or is a visitor. Not only is the bioloo a social innovation in sanitation, it, also, is an environmental innovation whereby it recycles the waste to usable water.
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Chairman of Banka BioLoo Limited
Sanjay Banka, a strong propagator of SDG6, is Chairman of Banka BioLoo Limited, an Indian sanitation company.
With academic background in sciences, humanities, human rights, law and business management, he has a strong understanding of society, economy and the polity, along with technology and sustainable development, with a focus on water and sanitation.
Professionally, he has worked in family business, start-ups, MNCs and co-founded Banka BioLoo, with spouse Namita Banka. Well-versed with humanitarian problems, primarily issues related to water and sanitation, he puts his best foot forward in helping provide eco-friendly and sustainable water and sanitation solutions.
He is considered an expert on sustainable WaSH (water, sanitation and hygiene); and regularly participates in and contributes to the global WaSH advocacy and action. He, strongly, believes in partnerships as a basis for sustainable development. Governments, civil society and businesses should work in harmony for the greater good of the society.
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