70% Of Indian Households Don’t Have Access To Toilets: Dr Siddeek Ahmed, Chairman & MD, Eram Scientific Solutions
With a huge section of the population still with no access to proper sanitation, it's integral that the social sector steps up and finds innovative solutions to the country’s sanitation problems. In an exclusive interview with BW Businessworld, Dr. Siddeek Ahmed, Chairman & MD of Eram Scientific Solutions, discusses one of these social innovations, which is an award-winning, eco-friendly, e-toilet
What is technologically unique about Eram E-toilets?
Our eToilets are 100% environment-friendly and is developed on a holistic convergence of the latest technologies in electrical, mechanical, web and mobile. We have comprehensively addressed the Urban Public Sanitation challenges through a product mix of eToilets for the General Public, eToilets for Schools and Smart She Toilet with a restroom exclusively for women. Till date, 2500+ eToilet units and 600 Sewage Treatments Plants have been set up across 22 states in India. Our Product, eToilet has received over 45+ National and International awards and recognitions. The highlights such as unmanned, self-cleaning features, auto pre flush and post flush mechanisms, remote monitoring through web and mobile app and the eToilet locator app are unique for eToilets. The unique features of “eToilet” Mobile App which can be downloaded from Google Play store include locating the nearest eToilets via Map & Address Listings, understanding the mode of operations, mode of access and information on facilities etc. It can be utilized by the authorities to ensure accountability and transparency of operations.
How does Eram shortlist places where this technology is needed?
Being a social enterprise which makes every effort to address the sanitation problems through the integration of science and technology, we associate with governmental and municipal corporations to find out the sites where sanitary issues persist. The sites having lack of toilets, drainage issues, women’s safety and privacy issues are being monitored and shortlisted to provide the best solution. We provide our best services to cater to the necessities based on the intensity of the need. We also partner with many foundations which pave ways for us to suitably achieve our mission.
How do Eram E-toilets integrate environmental consciousness in their manufacturing and functioning?
Eram’s eToilets are designed in such a way consuming less water and power. It has sensors for water and electricity conservation. The sensors automatically detect the person who enters the eToilet and utilizes power and water accordingly. This helps in the sustainable use of water and power. The unmanned operations assure enhanced cleanliness through auto flushes and floor washing. We also provide onsite waste treatment using anaerobic biodegradation which removes the contaminants and produces environmentally safer treated wastewater. We are an authorized licensee of the biodigester technology of DRDO, Government of India. These sewage treatment plants (STPs) are highly reliable and effluents cause no harm to the environment.
What is the durability of Eram E-toilets?
The durability of Eram’s eToilets extends to more than 20 years with effective maintenance which is integrated with supply and installation. We are an ISO 9001:2008 company and ensure quality in all stages of implementation.
How does the company aim to address bigger issues of sanitation in the country?
According to reports from WHO & UNICEF, only 39% of the global population (2.9 billion people) use a safely-managed sanitation service, that is, excreta safely disposed of in situ or treated off-site. Be it rural areas or urban slums, 70% of households in India don’t have access to toilets. The consequences for women and children are even worse. Polluted water often leads to many childbirth-related infections and deaths. As a socially committed organization which relentlessly pursues high-end technology to develop products that address the bigger issues of sanitation, we have established collaborations with the world’s leading players in the sanitation and waste treatment sector under the granteeship of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). Apart from ongoing research, the company is collaborating with California Institute of Technology (Caltech), University of South Florida, Duke University, IDEO.org and similar others for developing next-generation toilets. We aspire to change the present scenario by providing more toilets across schools and rural areas and inducing the importance of behavior change in people. As part of our mission, we have already put into action many campaigns to make people aware about the importance of sanitation. The Responsible Public Sanitation campaign organized across different states in India as part of World Toilet Day 2017 was a unique step to promote citizen’s responsibility towards public sanitation. Likewise, plans are in the pipeline to create awareness among rural people regarding the use of toilets for a hygienic environment.
Is the company working with the flagship missions of the country, like Swachh Bharat mission?
We have a strong mission which deeply revolves around the imperative needs of the society. As we all know, our society confronts numerous sanitation problems. Poor sanitation causes many diseases and is the source of public health and hygiene issues. We have been developing solutions in alternate energy, clean technologies and pro-nature applications to address such issues. The flagship missions of the country like Swachh Bharat Mission are indeed inspirational for us. Our efforts in the water and sanitation sector are completely in alignment with this sanitation mission. It gives us immense pleasure to work in accordance with a movement which leads to a cleaner and healthier nation.
Is the water footprint of E-toilets better than conventional toilets?
We have a better water footprint as compared to the conventional toilets which use 5 to 7 gallons per flush. Our pre-flush, auto flush and platform cleaning mechanisms use as little as 1.6 gallons which is considerably low. Also, our eToilets are equipped with sensors for water conservation which helps in the sustainable use of water.We are very much concerned about the water footprint in all levels of manufacturing and take extreme care to reduce the level of water being utilized in all areas of production.
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