Musiri Selection Grade Town Panchayat

முசிறி தேர்வு நிலை பேரூராட்சி

Loo and behold

Posted by musiri on May 31, 2009

Moving two-three feet inside a toilet room is easier than walking a kilometre to defecate in the open.

Moving two-three feet inside a toilet room is easier than walking a kilometre to defecate in the open.

Villages near Tiruchirapalli show the city how to manage sewage—and benefit from it
Mangalathammal remembers the day the village gathered in front of her house. The then secretary of rural development in Tamil Nadu, Shanta Sheela Nair, was also there. The year was 2005 and the subject of curiosity, a special toilet the sixtysomething had installed in her house the previous year. Its collection chamber had filled up. When the officer opened the chamber’s lid people flinched away, fearing it would stink and insects would come out crawling. “But madam opened the chamber and scooped out dehydrated excreta with her hand,” said M Mangalathammal. “My neighbours couldn’t believe this and started moving towards the toilet to have a better look.”
That was a turning point for Mangalathammal’s village Kaliyapalayan, 40 km from Tiruchirapalli. Most people in this village of over 40 households used to defecate in the open. Today, 18 houses have built toilets like hers, and more are interested.
Kaliyapalayan’s problem is peculiar.
Since it is on the banks of the Cauvery, water is found there at shallow depths of less than two metres. Low water table means pit toilets, constructed under government’s sanitation programme, do not work there. Water collected in the pit cannot percolate down because the soil is already saturated with water. Very few could afford Rs 30,000-40,000 to build a concrete septic tank, where water flows out into a drain instead of percolating down.
The land where people used to defecate—after crossing a channel and walking a kilometre—was purchased by a resident of the village in 2003. He objected to people defecating there. That’s when villagers started looking for options. They heard about a new kind of toilet in a nearby village. It was constructed above the ground and cost much less (Rs 14,000) than septic tanks.
Seventy people from Kaliyapalayan in Musiri block went to see the toilet. It did not use water for flushing; the user had to throw a handful of ash down the hole in the toilet pan. The area for washing was separate, through which the urine and water collected in a separate chamber (see ‘Collector’s item’, Down To Earth, November 16-30, 2008).

Villages near Tiruchirapalli show the city how to manage sewage—and benefit from it
Mangalathammal remembers the day the village gathered in front of her house. The then secretary of rural development in Tamil Nadu, Shanta Sheela Nair, was also there. The year was 2005 and the subject of curiosity, a special toilet the sixtysomething had installed in her house the previous year. Its collection chamber had filled up. When the officer opened the chamber’s lid people flinched away, fearing it would stink and insects would come out crawling. “But madam opened the chamber and scooped out dehydrated excreta with her hand,” said M Mangalathammal. “My neighbours couldn’t believe this and started moving towards the toilet to have a better look.”
That was a turning point for Mangalathammal’s village Kaliyapalayan, 40 km from Tiruchirapalli. Most people in this village of over 40 households used to defecate in the open. Today, 18 houses have built toilets like hers, and more are interested.
Kaliyapalayan’s problem is peculiar.
Since it is on the banks of the Cauvery, water is found there at shallow depths of less than two metres. Low water table means pit toilets, constructed under government’s sanitation programme, do not work there. Water collected in the pit cannot percolate down because the soil is already saturated with water. Very few could afford Rs 30,000-40,000 to build a concrete septic tank, where water flows out into a drain instead of percolating down.
The land where people used to defecate—after crossing a channel and walking a kilometre—was purchased by a resident of the village in 2003. He objected to people defecating there. That’s when villagers started looking for options. They heard about a new kind of toilet in a nearby village. It was constructed above the ground and cost much less (Rs 14,000) than septic tanks.
Seventy people from Kaliyapalayan in Musiri block went to see the toilet. It did not use water for flushing; the user had to throw a handful of ash down the hole in the toilet pan. The area for washing was separate, through which the urine and water collected in a separate chamber (see ‘Collector’s item’, Down To Earth, November 16-30, 2008).

SOURCE : DOWN TO EARTH

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