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Here’s Why a Retired ISRO Official Is Helping Senegal Build Low-Cost Toilets

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The streets of Senegal in West Africa will be lined with toilets designed by a Bengaluru resident. And it’s all thanks to social media.

H Raja Simha, a retired chief engineer from ISRO, has designed something called the pre-stressed and pre-cast toilet that he deems is ideal for rural areas and something that will last at least 50 years.

Simha had uploaded a video on how the design works through his YouTube channel and it seems to have caught the attention of authorities in Senegal, because they quickly roped him in.

According to Seydon Sane, Mayor of Ziguinchor, a city in Senegal, about 100 of these toilets will be installed in the first phase as part of the pilot programme.

The toilet’s design has been replicated by the state of Gujarat and the Union Territory of Daman and Diu. Speaking about his innovation, Raja told Deccan Herald, “It has a lifespan of 50 years and is compact. I chalked out the idea a year ago and so far, these models have been replicated at Daman and in Gujarat with the installation of more than 1,000 precast toilets.”


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The video explains the technology behind the system while noting, “This technology conceives Twin Pit pour flush toilet with RCC M 40 pre-stress pre-cast concrete walls and roof. The life of this toilet is 50 years and more. All the toilet components comprising prefab concrete walls, door, WC pipes, junction box, soak pits, nuts, bolts, etc. supplied as toilet kit.”

The pricing of the toilets is also done judiciously, with the kit costing ₹12,000 as opposed to ₹35,000 that such a kit generally costs. This could perhaps hold the key to addressing the open defecation problem that still plagues many regions in India.

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