Question 1 Define the term sanitation?
Question 2 What is a septic tank? Describe the septic tank based toilets?
Question 3 What is the relation between sanitation and diseases?
Question 4 State the various ways in which you can contribute in maintaining sanitation at public places?
Question 5 What will happen if the large amount of waste generated at public places is not disposed of properly?
Question 6 What is a vermi-processing toilet?
Question 7 What are vacuum toilets?
Question 8 Explain how Composting Toilets works?
Sanitation and Diseases
Sanitation means to create hygienic environment (or clean environment) around us which is essential for preventing diseases and keeping good health.
A vast number of people in our country still do not have sewerage facilities for the safe disposal of human excreta. Due to this, a very large number of our people defecate in the open in fields, near railway tracks, on dry river beds and many a time directly in water. The untreated human excreta causes soil pollution and water pollution. Since the human excreta is carried along by rainwater, therefore, both surface water (in lakes and rivers) as well as groundwater get polluted with it.
The drinking of water contaminated with untreated human excreta becomes the most common route for the spreading of water-borne diseases. Some of the water borne diseases spread in this way are: Cholera, Typhoid, Polio, Meningitis, Hepatitis and Dysentery.
Clean water that is fit for drinking is not available to all the people. More than one billion people in the world do not get safe drinking water. The drinking of contaminated water by the people is responsible for a large number of water-related diseases and even deaths, throughout the world.
Arrangements for sewage disposal
The examples of onsite sewage disposal systems for human waste are:
(1) Septic tanks
(2) Composting pits, and
(3) Chemical toilets.
Septic Tanks (or Septic Tank Toilets)
(1) A septic tank usually consists of a big, covered, underground tank made of concrete having pipe at one end and an-outlet pipe at the other end.
(2) The toilet seat is connected to the inlet pipe of the septic tank.
(3) The human excreta from the toiler sear enters into the septic tank through the inlet pipe.
(4) The solid part of excreta keeps on collecting at the bottom of the septic tank in the form of a sludge whereas watery waste remains above it.
(5) The anaerobic bacteria break down most of the solid organic matter present in human excreta due to which the volume of solid waste is reduced too much.
(6) The digested solid waste keeps on depositing at the bottom of septic tank.
(7) The watery waste is also cleaned by anaerobic bacteria. The excess water goes out of the septic tank through the outlet pipe and gets absorbed in the soil.
Septic tanks (or septic tank toilets) are suitable for those places where there is no sewerage system.
In many villages, human excreta from the toilet seats in the homes flows directly into biogas plant through covered drains .The biogas produced is used as a fuel. Thus, the use of human excreta in biogas plants is another way of safe disposal of human waste (where sewers are not available).
Composting Pits (or Composting Toilets)
A composting toilet is a self-contained human waste disposal unit which is not connected to a sewer line or a septic tank.
(1) A composting toilet breaks down and dehydrate human waste to a compost which can be added to soil to make it fertile.
(2) A composting toilet consists of a toilet seat fixed atop a composting chamber which is further connected to a drying chamber.
(3) The composting chamber breaks down the human excreta with the help of micro-organisms (such as aerobic bacteria) and converts it into a compost.
(4) The drying chamber allows the compost and make it solid. This solid compost is removed periodically and used as a manure.
(5) The composting toilets are used where the water supply is limited or not available at all.
Advantages of Composting Pits
They supply us compost (or manure) and hence help in conserving useful plant nutrients. A composting pit toilet treats the sewage close to the place where it is generated.
A chemical toilet uses a chemically treated reservoir located directly below the toilet seat. The chemicals reduce the odour (foul smell) coming from the human waste and carry out partial disinfection of the human waste.
Chemical toilets have a limited storage capacity for human waste, so their reservoirs need to be emptied into a sewer line after a certain time.
Chemical toilets are used at construction sites, and at large outdoor gatherings such as music festivals and marriages, etc. The portable chemical toilets are not low-cost toilets.
In the vermi-processing toilet, the human excreta is treated by earthworms in a pit. The earthworms gradually eat up all the organic matter present in human excreta, decompose it and pass out from body in the form of worm castings (also called vermi-cakes).
The vermi-cakes are a kind of high quality manure which can be added to soil for growing plants.
The vermi-processing toilet is a low water use toilet for the safe processing of human waste.
Toilets in Aeroplanes
The aeroplanes have special type of toilets called ‘vacuum toilets‘ So, the human excreta (or sewage) in an aeroplane is disposed of through valve opens in a pipeline which has vacuum inside it. The vacuum in the pipeline sucks the human excreta from the toilet seat with a great force (making a loud noise), and carries it into a tank on board the aeroplane When the aeroplane lands at an airport, then the tank containing all the human excreta is emptied into a sewer line in the ground through connecting pipes.
Sanitation at Public Places
Poor sanitation in crowded public places can result in the spread of diseases. So, all the waste materials produced at public places must be disposed of properly. If all the wastes produced at public places are not disposed of regularly and properly, even epidemics could break out.
We can contribute in maintaining sanitation at public places by observing some simple practices:
(1) We should not scatter rubbish such as paper, food wastes, packets, empty plastic water bottles, etc. in public places. The rubbish should be put in dustbins provided for this purpose.
(2) We should not spit in public places.
(3) After eating a banana, we should not throw banana peels on the roadside or any other public place.
(4) We should never urinate on the roadside.