Habitat Observatory

    Cooking fuel needs being fulfilled

Village Bio-gas unit attached to every toilet

Village Panuda in Narmada district has some very happy women. Each house has a bio-gas unit installed and it is linked to the toilet – fulfilling the dual purpose of generating clean cooking gas for their kitchen and the production of compost manure for their agricultural fields. Their Sarpanch, Ms. Lataben Vasava, has adopted this unique idea by installing a bio-gas unit of two cubic meters attached to every toilet in the village.

But it was not easy for her. The village is located in tribal belt of Dediapada taluka of Narmada district and the people were following old practices of open defecation and cutting down the trees in the forest for fuel wood for cooking. Disturbed by the environmental conditions of the village, Lataben took the lead and contacted the District Rural Development Agency officials and a leading NGO working in the area and got the idea of installing a bio gas unit in every household. She liked and proposed the idea to her villagers for installing the bio gas units that are linked to each toilet. She convinced the villagers by telling them about the benefits of bio-gas and that it generates cooking gas as well as produces compost manure. She led by example and installed the bio-gas unit in her own house, linking it to her toilet and using the bio-gas for cooking.

Today, almost all the houses have a two cubic meter bio-gas plant attached to their toilets. As a result, people have stopped going in for open defecation – the main incentive being the bio-gas available to them to run their kitchen.

The way it works is that a pipeline takes human waste from the toilet to this plant, where the excreta gets mixed with cow dung, which is available in plenty in every house and in the process bio-gas is produced, which is then supplied to the kitchen through another rubber pipeline. The easy availability of bio fuel has almost reduced villagers' dependence on wood fuel, which in turn has helped in the conservation of trees. Usage of produced gas is extremely easy, free of cost and ends up saving the time and effort of the housewives. The high quality compost produced from the plant is very valuable.

Sarpanch Lataben Vasava is a proud woman today as the people of her village have started using toilets available in their houses and do not go for open defecation. This has given a much cleaner environment to the village. She says with a touch of pride that 'her neighbouring village Navgam has been inspired by them and started setting-up bio-gas units linked with toilets'.

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    From pain to happiness – a journey towards good health Story of Sakuntala and Ishwari

SODIS –Solar Solution for Clean Drinking Water

From suffering continuously of severe stomach pain to a healthy and energetic body – Shakuntala’s life has actually taken a turn to better lifestyle. She along with her husband and three kids lives in South Delhi slum. She used to constantly complain of stomachaches and headaches. Though she had guessed and also was told by local doctors that it is mainly due to unsafe drinking water she could not do anything about it.  Due to their economic condition neither they can afford a filter nor can they waste gas for boiling water. Her children learned about SODIS technology at school, where they were told about SODIS technology and its benefits. The children understood the benefits and persuaded the family to try the technology. Their mother for the love of their children tried the technology and started reaping the benefits very soon. Her health took a major turn. She got rid of the stomach and body aches and started feeling better. Shakuntala’s family is now really happy and uses the technology regularly without fail. Everyday they treat 6 bottles of water through SODIS technology for drinking purpose. This no cost water treatment method has been of very beneficial to them.

Ishwari Kaur is a progressive mother. She knows clean drinking water is a must for her family’s good health. She kept a filter in her house for cleaning the slum water for drinking purpose. But it got damaged and her family could not buy a new one. Forcefully she had to use bore well water directly for drinking purpose. As she suspected her whole family fall prey to all kind of water related diseases. Thankfully during this time she was introduced to SODIS technology. She was desperate to bring back her family’s good health, so immediately she started using the technology. And within no time her family started getting rid of all their stomachaches and other diseases. Now they are a regular user of SODIS technology and swear by its benefits. Ishwari treats 3 litres of water every day for her family’s drinking purpose.

About 70-80% of the infant mortality in India is due to water-related diseases. According to WHO report, 20.3% of children in India under five years of age die due to diarrhoeal diseases as against the global figure of 17%. According to the Water Aid Drinking Water quality in Rural India report, the health burden of poor water quality is estimated 27 billion rupees a year India. About 40% of the people in Delhi do not have access to safe drinking water.

Development Alternatives (DA) Group works with a vision of "A world where every citizen can live a secure, healthy and fulfilling life, in harmony with nature". The organisation believes that every citizen should have access to fulfill his basic needs. Access to safe clean drinking water is for all. Keeping this is mind we are promoting the idea of SODIS technology for availability of water at areas where clean water is not available and maximum population of the area is living below poverty line.

Solar disinfection (SODIS) is a simple low cost disinfection method, in which the rays of the sun are used to make water safe for drinking. Contaminated water is filled in a transparent PET-bottle and exposed to the sun for 6 hours. During this time, the UVA-radiation of the sun kills germs such as viruses and bacteria present in the water.

SODIS technology was developed and tested at the Swiss federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag). This treatment method is being surveyed, implemented and advocated in Delhi, India by The Development Alternatives Group in association with, Ehsaas Foundation and Isard.

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