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Central Railway to introduce eco-friendly toilets

Facility to be introduced on Mumbai-Varanasi Mahanagiri Express.

Written by MANASI PHADKE | Published: May 3, 2012 3:23:42 am

Facility to be introduced on Mumbai-Varanasi Mahanagiri Express.

The Central Railway plans to introduce environment-friendly toilets,which will degrade all solid waste into water and gas,as a pilot project in one of its outstation trains — a move that could go a long way in keeping railway tracks clean.

Unlike the conventional toilets that dump all the solid waste and water on the tracks below,in the new green toilets,waste would be directed to a tank with bacterial sludge. The sludge will then break down all solid waste in an aerobic process to gas and water,which will then be released on the railway tracks. The technology,developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO),will be introduced on the Mumbai-Varanasi Mahanagari Express later this month.

“All the 24 coaches will have two or three of these biodegradable toilets and one conventional toilet in case of any issues with the new toilets,” said Vidyadhar Malegaonkar from the Central Railway. There are six rakes that make trips on the route of the Mumbai-Varanasi Mahanagari Express. Of the six,one rake will have coaches fitted with the new toilets as of now. Internal tests of these toilets have already been conducted and if successful on the Mahanagari Express,this technology could be later extended to other outstation trains as and when more coaches become available.

However,the functioning of such green toilets could be hampered if plastic bottles are thrown in the commode. “It may be difficult to keep a check on this. However,on the maintenance part,the potency of the bacterial sludge will reduce with the passage of time so there will be a certain cycle of maintenance and refilling the bacterial sludge. We are yet to figure out how often we will need to tend to it,” Malegaonkar said.

The Central Railway is already running a controlled discharge system in toilets of some outstation trains. This system ensures that there is no discharge from toilets if trains are standing on platforms or running at a speed of less than 30 kmph to prevent soiling in station areas.

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