While issues like open defecation and lack of proper human waste management continues to be overlooked, the comic book raises these concerns in a way that engages.
Have you ever given a thought to what happens after you flush your toilet? Does a sewer system manage all the waste or is it just dumped somewhere?
‘Buland Babu’ is here to not just educate you, but also raise awareness about the need for human waste treatment that does not come at the cost of our environment.
Protagonist of A Sludge Story, a comic book published by the Bengaluru-based organization Consortium for DEWATS (Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Systems) Dissemination Society or CDD Society, Buland Babu is a common man who wishes nothing but the best for his city, Buland.
Launched by the organisation in February this year, the copies of the comic book were shared with multiple Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) across Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and have been well-received.
While issues like open defecation and lack of proper human waste management continues to be overlooked, the comic book raises these concerns in a way that engages and educates the reader at the same time.
And who doesn’t love a comic book?
“The idea of addressing these issues on a broader prospective had been going on for almost a year. Developing the concept in the comic book format seemed fresh,” says Tarika Vaswani, a CDD Society member.
Teaming up with Twist Open Innovations, a design studio, and post multiple brainstorming sessions, the framework was decided upon and ‘The Adventures of Buland Babu’ was born.
“While many cities now have underground sewerage and human waste management plants, much of the towns in the country still rely on septic tanks and pits. Since, no proper treatment plants exist, once these tanks and pits fill up, the waste is collected and mostly dumped into water bodies or open fields,” she says.
A Sludge Story tries to break down the current treatment that human waste undergoes in India and explains about the hazardous repercussions to the environment as well as human life that follow.
During the faecal sludge management conference FSM4 held at Chennai in February, all the initial 500 copies on display at CDD Society’s stall managed to exchange hands and soon, upon request, another batch of 500 copies were reprinted.
While some have made it to schools and colleges, the organisation wants to have a greater reach, keeping special focus on students.
“We want to reach out to schools and colleges as much as possible because maximum development is important, raising awareness on sanitation issues is very crucial for their future,” Tarika adds.
The initial issue deals with faecal sludge management and how the citizens of Buland come together and tackle their own ‘dirt’ successfully. Since the comic says the ‘adventures’ of Buland Babu, does that mean more is in the store?
“We are working on something. Looks like Buland Babu might be up to something, if you read the comic book carefully!” Tarika laughs.
Currently, the CDD society has successfully set up a faecal sludge treatment plant (FSTP) in Devannahalli and handles 100% of the sludge collected in the region.