Vermicompost Toilets

Less than 10% of the households have sanitary units. Villagers traditionally go outdoors.  This habit is quickly changing and villagers, especially women, want toilets.  Building toilets is not easy for villagers.  It is difficult to get required parts and material to build a quality toilet.  Even though the government offers a partial subsidy, few villagers qualify for the subsidy and the bureaucracy is painfully slow.  It takes many months and many visits to government officials for the funds.

Many villages around MSA are settled on rock. This makes it impossible to build the underground soak chambers necessary for traditional sanitary units. MSA approach Shri Shashi Shah, Gopal Shah, H.D. Pathak et al of Engineering Seva Trust of Vadodara to provide engineering support for building the toilets.

Shri Dhiren Bajpai & M.V. Shaikh of Svades, a Vadodara based NGO, provides detailed design, supervision, and procurement support. Svades has gained experience building over 4500 toilets in surrounding villages. 
The end result was a novel technology called vermicomposting. Rather than use soak chambers, earthworms are used to decompose fecal matter and create fertilizer. This design has several benefits: 

1.     LOWER COST: There is no underground soak chamber, hence neither excavation, nor bricks are required.   

2.     ALL TERRAIN SOLUTION: Since there is no underground soak chamber, the toilet can be built on rocky terrain, even on hills and mountains. This is ideal for the villages around Ashram.  

3.     ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY:Since there is no soak chamber there is no potential of contaminating water underground. 

4.     ONGOING INCOME: The earthworms produce valuable fertilizer. MSA has offered to purchase the fertilizer at Rs. 5/kg. Then, to continue building sanitation units, MSA has offered to purchase earthworms at Rs. 300/kg from the villagers.  With this continuous income, owners can not only get their initial investment back, but gain further economic benefits. 

5.     NATIONAL IMPACT: 60% of India's 125 crore people do not have sanitary units.  Even if 10% of them installed earthworm based eco-friendly units, they would convert 27 lakh tons of human waste into 5.4 lakh tons of organic fertilizer!  This is a huge opportunity.  

The time to act is NOW.