A Toilet for India That Also Delivers Clean Water
In India, 600 million people lack access to a clean toilet, and, lately, the government has been on a big drive to build more of them. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Clean India” campaign aims to provide decent sanitation to all Indians by 2019.
SHRI, formerly called Humanure, has a solution it thinks can help. It builds a 16-toilet community block (eight for women and eight for men), with a big collection tank underneath. As the waste degrades, it pipes off the biogas to run an electric generator. Then it uses the electricity to clean groundwater, which it sells to offset the cost of cleaning the toilets.
So far, SHRI has built four blocks in Bihar state, in northern India, and co-director Joan DeGennaro says it’s just getting started. The non-profit now hopes to tap into the billions of government rupees available for toilet projects, as well as billions of dollars potentially on offer in Silicon Valley.
“We’re making a big push to fundraise in Silicon Valley from VCs and angels who normally make startup investments,” she says. “We’re appealing to them because we do have that sustainable element of generating revenue with the water.”
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