Sulabh public toilet design

For India’s low-cost toilet champion, each new loo means freedom not just from rampant disease, but one more chance to liberate someone from doing the awful job of disposing of someone else’s waste.

In the centuries-old caste system, with its ingrained fear of “pollution,” the deepest revulsion has traditionally been reserved for those who do India’s dirty work, such as taking away human waste from homes in buckets.

“What did society do for them? It made them into ‘untouchables.'”

For more than three decades Bindeshwar Pathak, who founded the sanitation promotion organisation Sulabh (Convenience), has been promoting toilets that are cheap to build and don’t require a sewer connection.

Pathak says western toilets based on sewage pipes and abundant water will never get the job done in the developing world, where more than 99 percent of the loos are needed.

Pathak is (now) promoting an environmentally-friendly toilet system that recycles human waste into biogas without releasing greenhouse gases. The gas can then be piped for electricity or cooking.

The World’s diminishing access to potable water is at least as critical as sanitary pooping. Kudos to Pathak – for combining multiple necessities.

  1. Les says:

    I wonder if he’s able to loo people to the idea. (loo = woo)

  2. JimR says:

    “So far, the organisation has built 175 of these toilets, which are being used by 175,000 people.”

    Think about that when you use your own toilet shared by 0 – 5. In my case, there are 4 toilets in my house for 5 people.

  3. cheese says:

    Unfortunate Sales pitches:

    Gotta-loo, gotta-loo, gotta-loo right now, gotta-loo, gotta-loo, Gotta-Loo!

    The loo: come in and “log on”.

    The loo: proving ground for the mile-high club.

    The loo: easy to find as following you nose.

  4. So what is going to happen to all the untouchables once their is no more shit to shovel?

  5. natefrog says:

    #4, Ben;

    They’ll be sent to Washington DC. Plenty of work to do there.

  6. B. Dog says:

    It’s a good idea. In Paris they do it with more flair.

  7. Greg Allen says:

    As a person who has lived in India, I can’t affirm this enough.

    Hundreds of million of Indians are forced to deficate anywhere they can. Traditionally, in the villages, this actually is OK. But get a few million people in one place and it’s horrible.

    Privacy is actually not the biggest problem — it’s fairly rare to stumble upon someone defecating. But it is COMMON to step on or wonder into a bunch of crap and pee.

    Needless to say, this is a huge health problem.

    I have to say… I seriously question how his environmental claims can be true. Doesn’t all crap biodegrade into methane? How in the world does he capture that so it doesn’t’ go into the atmosphere?

  8. Greg Allen says:

    … correction. I should say it is fairly rare to catch someone pooping. Pee’ing in public (by men) is super common where I was and in Pakistan, too.

  9. HisMostHumblyExhaultedSupremeGlobalWarmingMajesty says:

    My dogs recycle their poop by eating it again. Not really a suggestion, just an observation…..

  10. MikeN says:

    Whocares about India’s toilets. I want the US to withdraw its limit of just 1.6 gallons per flush.

  11. HisMostHumblyExhaultedSupremeGlobalWarmingMajesty says:

    #11 – I agree. If you’ve been eating a lot of factory farmed meat and it sticks to the side of the bowl, a gallon and a half doesn’t cut it.

  12. hhopper says:

    “My dogs recycle their poop by eating it again. Not really a suggestion, just an observation…..”

    Is it more refined the second time around?

  13. HisMostHumblyExhaultedSupremeGlobalWarmingMajesty says:

    #13 – Yes. The gas becomes stronger also. After a couple of run throughs their farts are military grade. I call them my weapons of ass destruction.

    Sitting on the deck on a Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and watching them find one is not a good way to start the day. Good incentive to pick it up as frequently as I can.

  14. JimR says:

    #14… “Weapon of ass destruction”. I like that. 🙂


Bad Behavior has blocked 3874 access attempts in the last 7 days.