Press release: Duke’s Community-Based Toilet System Begins Testing in India
By Ken Kingery
Researchers at Duke University have installed an experimental “reinvented toilet” at a textile mill in Coimbatore, India, to serve as a real-world testing site. The leaders of the new decentralized waste processing system hope that the trial will lead to commercialized solutions produced through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.
The system is designed to reuse water, a huge plus in drought-prone areas. And while it does require a modest power supply, these needs can be met through solar panels or other off-grid solutions. The end goal is a stand-alone system that can help meet the needs of the 2.4 billion people who lack access to safe and effective sanitation.
“This is the first wave of our systems being installed at high-profile sites for the Gates Foundation,” said Brian Stoner, who started the program as a Senior Fellow at RTI International before joining Duke as a research professor and director of the Center for WaSH-AID (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Infectious Disease).
“Data suggest that women are disproportionately affected by poor sanitation options, so we’re focusing our first full system test on gaining their acceptance and supporting their needs,” Stoner said. “Our aim is to be gender-transformative, empowering women and girls with the knowledge and choices to enhance their health, education and quality of life.”
Photo courtesy of Shamsheer Yousaf.