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Promoted Under The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, A User Assesses The ‘Twin Pit’ Toilet Technology

World Toilet Day 2020: Under the Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin, the government promoted the construction of twin pit toilets and even provided subsidy, but does this toilet technology live up to its promise?

Promoted Under The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, A User Assesses The 'Twin Pit' Toilet Technology
Highlights
  • World Toilet Day: Under SBM, the government promoted twin pit toilets
  • A regular twin pit toilet can be constructed at a cost of ₹12,000 – ₹15,000
  • A twin pit toilet offers onsite fecal management

New Delhi: In 2009, when Poonam Rani, head of Hirmatkala village in Mewat, Haryana, got married, she not only had to leave her house, but also access to safe sanitation. Unlike other married women, Poonam’s first morning, post marriage started with carrying a metal pot filled with water in her hand to a nearby farm to answer nature’s call, accompanied by her mother-in-law. Post marriage, the challenge was not only to adjust into a new family and adopt their customs, but to hold her bladder until dark, and convince her mother-in-law to escort her every time she wanted to relieve herself.

When I agreed to get married to my husband and his family’s demand of giving up meat post marriage, little did I knew that I would be giving up toilet also, recalls Poonam Rani.

Also Read: World Toilet Day 2020: All You Need To Know About The Theme And Significance

“Initially, she would often wake me up in the middle of the night to be her chaperone. She would complain of an attack of collywobbles, and at times indigestion. During the rainy season, snakes and other insects would come out and there she would get scared of getting bitten by them, but we didn’t have an option”, recollects Shakuntala, Poonam’s mother-in-law.

It was not just the family but entire village that was openly defecating. It was in 2009-10 when Sulabh International, a non-profit organisation, working towards improving sanitation in India, decided to educate villagers about the health benefits of using a toilet and construct individual household twin pit toilets. The bulk of the cost of construction was borne by Sulabh, just Rs. 3,000 was paid by individuals constructing an individual household toilet.

Also Read: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: What Are Twin Pit Toilets?

The twin pit or twin leach pit toilet is a toilet technology that turns waste into wealth. It’s an on-site sanitation measure for houses where water table is low and enough space to construct the toilet along with two four feet deep circular pit. The two pits connected to junction chamber are used alternatively. Pit walls have a honeycomb structure so that watery part of excreta can percolate into the soil. The remaining content is left unattended to degrade and turn into manure. Twin pit is usually constructed in rural India, but people in urban India can also adopt for it, if they have enough space, says Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of the Sulabh International Social Service Organisation.

Poonam and her family was the first one to understand the vital role safe sanitation and toilet play in an individual’s life and get a twin pit toilet constructed at their premises. Having used it for over a decade, Shakuntala narrates the several positives of constructing the twin pit toilet at home.

1. Cost of construction: The cost of constructing a regular twin pit toilet with basic super structure (four walls of the toilet having a platform, seat, hand washing unit, foot rest, and water point) and sub-structure that is two-pit ranges between Rs. 12,000 – Rs.15,000. Under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the government provided a subsidy of Rs. 12,000 for the construction of a twin pit toilet.

Since we have a well painted toilet with iron door, and tiles, it costed us close to Rs. 45,000. But an individual can opt for different materials for the superstructure as per their economic condition and the availability of materials. For instance, brick and cement with RCC roof, stone wall with RCC roof, bamboo, or thatch, says Shakuntala.

Also Read: WASH Warrior: Meet 45-Year-Old Ganesh Nagle, Who Is Ensuring His Fellow Slum Dwellers In Bhopal Are Not Deprived Of Sanitation Facilities

2. Two pits: As the name suggests, two leach pits are constructed which can be used alternatively. According to the experts, in a family of five, a pit gets filled in three to four years. When the first pit gets filled, the flow of excreta has to be diverted to the second pit. So, one doesn’t have to worry about emptying a pit for at least for the next four years.

Promoted Under The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, A User Assesses The 'Twin Pit' Toilet Technology

Twin pits lined with stones

3. On site fecal management: Instead of emptying the first pit, users can leave its contents for two years to degrade and turn to solid, odourless, and pathogen free manure. This can then either be used for agriculture purposes or sold.

The first time I emptied the pit, I got five sacks full of manure, for free. I used it in my farm which resulted in good harvest, recalls Shakuntala.

4. Less Water Requirement: As compared to regular cistern flush toilet which requires 10-12 litres of water, twin pit needs only 1.5-2 litres of water to flush out excreta. Reason being 20 mm water seal in pans. Water seal more than 20 mm should be avoided as it requires more water. Use of more water reduces the life of leach pits.

While there are advantages of constructing a twin-pit toilet, there are some disadvantages as well. Shakuntala who has joined hands with Sulabh to school villagers on toilet construction, especially twin pit, narrates the negatives of the toilet technology.

Also Read: World Toilet Day 2020: Building Toilets Doesn’t Mean Total Sanitation, There Are Many Goals India Needs To Meet, Says Expert From Centre For Science and Environment

1. High Chances Of Water Contamination: In high water table regions, there is a high chance of ground water contamination. If a pit if too deep which is over 4 feet, then too water might seep into the pit failing the sole purpose of having on site waste management.

One should not construct twin-pit near a water body as water from pit may leach into the nearby ground and contaminate the surrounding ground water source. Ideally, a distance of over 10 metre should be maintained between the two, says Shakuntala.

2. Not Suitable For Rocky Areas: In twin pit toilet, water percolates into the soil, but this can’t happen at rocky areas. Because of which pits gets filled frequently, making it difficult to manage waste.

The best thing is today we have our own personal toilet and now my daughter-in-law can use a washroom anytime and everytime. Though when we were getting a toilet made inside our house villagers would call us mad. They would say that we were inviting diseases, but today, each house in our village has an individual toilet, signs off Shakuntala.

Also Read: 43 People Have Died Due To Manual Scavenging This Year, Says Safai Karmachari Andolan’s Bezwada Wilson On Kaun Banega Crorepati

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

26,10,35,501Cases
22,18,42,204Active
3,39,98,278Recovered
51,95,019Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 196 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 26,10,35,501 and 51,95,019 have died; 22,18,42,204 are active cases and 3,39,98,278 have recovered as on November 28, 2021 at 3:39 am.

India

3,45,72,523 8,774Cases
1,05,6911,328Active
3,39,98,278 9,481Recovered
4,68,554 621Deaths
In India, there are 3,45,72,523 confirmed cases including 4,68,554 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,05,691 and 3,39,98,278 have recovered as on November 28, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,33,612 507

11,905 248

64,80,799 738

1,40,908 17

Kerala

51,29,359 4,741

49,152 957

50,40,528 5,144

39,679 554

Karnataka

29,95,285 322

6,783 143

29,50,306 176

38,196 3

Tamil Nadu

27,24,731 740

8,382 36

26,79,895 765

36,454 11

Andhra Pradesh

20,72,446 248

2,158 5

20,55,856 253

14,432

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,373 5

86 5

16,87,377 9

22,910 1

West Bengal

16,14,152 701

7,820 27

15,86,882 717

19,450 11

Delhi

14,40,834 27

290 11

14,15,448 37

25,096 1

Odisha

10,48,492 264

2,222 6

10,37,864 255

8,406 3

Chhattisgarh

10,06,733 27

326 7

9,92,814 20

13,593

Rajasthan

9,54,741 26

187 13

9,45,599 13

8,955

Gujarat

8,27,382 28

291 17

8,16,999 45

10,092

Madhya Pradesh

7,93,120 23

112 9

7,82,480 14

10,528

Haryana

7,71,654 11

159 1

7,61,441 10

10,054

Bihar

7,26,212 3

39 6

7,16,510 9

9,663

Telangana

6,75,479 160

3,545 11

6,67,946 148

3,988 1

Assam

6,16,435 123

2,720 71

6,07,624 189

6,091 5

Punjab

6,03,190 17

313 22

5,86,284 39

16,593

Jharkhand

3,49,216 20

109 0

3,43,967 20

5,140

Uttarakhand

3,44,183 14

150 6

3,36,626 8

7,407

Jammu And Kashmir

3,36,386 149

1,724 5

3,30,189 141

4,473 3

Himachal Pradesh

2,26,941 82

809 18

2,22,287 97

3,845 3

Goa

1,78,839 40

275 9

1,75,183 31

3,381

Mizoram

1,34,279 358

4,117 110

1,29,672 466

490 2

Puducherry

1,28,860 35

326 5

1,26,662 30

1,872

Manipur

1,25,117 19

673 1

1,22,474 18

1,970 2

Tripura

84,784 13

89 9

83,874 3

821 1

Meghalaya

84,414 20

308 27

82,635 44

1,471 3

Chandigarh

65,443 5

52 4

64,571 1

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,269 9

37 4

54,952 5

280

Sikkim

32,211 4

114 5

31,694 9

403

Nagaland

32,100 4

135 1

31,269 5

696

Ladakh

21,494 27

249 6

21,032 21

213

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,683

1 0

10,678

4

Lakshadweep

10,394

28 1

10,315 1

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,680 2

5 2

7,546

129

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