Indian Railways, which is one of the world’s largest railway network, is running 1,400 coaches with 3,800 bio-toilets in various trains as part of its commitment to provide hygienic environment to passengers.
In the first four months of the current year, Indian Railways have fitted more bio-toilets on coaches than the entire number of bio-toilets fitted in the past three years, the Ministry of Railways announced.
In the first four months of the current financial year, the number of bio-toilets fitted in passenger coaches were 2,285 in comparison to 1,337 bio-toilets fitted in 2012-13, 169 in 2011-12 and 57 in the year 2010-11.
The first train, Gwalior-Varanasi Bundelkhand Express, fitted with bio-toilets is running since January 2011.
“After receiving encouraging feedback from the users and railway maintenance staff, the pace of fitment of these bio-toilets in Indian Railways passenger coaches has been ramped up,” said the statement.
In its endeavour to take all necessary steps to keep station premises clean, Indian Railways is now manufacturing all new conventional passenger coaches fitted with bio-toilets.
These bio-toilets are fitted below the coach floor underneath the lavatories and the human waste discharged into them is acted upon by a colony of anaerobic bacteria that convert human waste mainly into water and small amount of gases (methane and CO2).
The gases escape into atmosphere and waste is discharged after chlorination onto the track. Human waste thus does not fall on the railway track. This is environmentally friendly and also improves the working condition for the railway track staff, it added.
As of December 2012, Indian Railways transported over 25 million passengers daily and over nine billion on an annual basis.
The old-fashioned open-hole toilet in about its 50,000 coaches that ply the country’s big railway system resulted in it being called, the largest open toilet in the world.