Waterless Urinals

Ideas and Issues International

Waterless_UrinalDelhi This article in The Times of India about the planning and preparations for the Commonwealth Games in 2010 is too good not to share.  It has everything.  It reminds me of that David Alan Cole number about the perfect country-and-western song.  This is just about the perfect Indian article capturing in a vivid way part of the very special culture as well as the confusion and contradiction between public and private roles:  city built latrines for the public that will pay off from the private sector and eliminate smells to boot!

Civic body plans to build 1,000 waterless urinals

New Delhi       The MCD plans to upgrade 1000 public urinals to ‘waterless urinals’ in view of the Games.  Two lakh litres of water will be saved by using the technology which will also take care of the problem of foul smell.  A proposal in this regard was passed by the standing committee on Thursday.

These urinals will be ready by June 2010.  Two waterless urinals have already been built near the Town Hall and the ISBT.  The urinal near the Town Hall is used by 1000 citizens daily.  While the civic agency’s engineering department will construct the urinals — at Rs 4.5 lakh each (450,000 rupees or about 10000 USD) – their maintenance and operation will be handed over to a private company.  MCD expects to earn Rs 5 crore per annum by leasing out these urinals.  The heart of the technology is the cartridge fitted in the ceramic pan.  The cartridge is filled with biodegradable sealant that acts as a barrier between the rest room and the drainage system.  Due to absence of water and contact with air, urine does not form any gas and the toilet remains odour free.

A lot of if’s, and’s, and but’s lurching in this short piece.  I have a bad feeling a year from now, I’ll be reading (and smelling) something different.