KOCHI: At the Ammachi Labs, at Amrita University, Kollam, Harish Mohan, a mechanical design engineer and a few other engineers have been working on a toilet project for over two years. Their aim- to design an easy-to-make toilet, with less material and skilled labour, which will benefit thousands of families across North India.“At present, most of the toilets which are made in North India are time-consuming, which means, they require a lot of skilled labour and materials. Many families cannot afford this model, including paying wages to the masons. This is what prompted us to create this new one,” said Harish, a National Institute of Technology alumnus.
The team also visited several places as part of their research, including the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in New Delhi and also studied the various models introduced by the Swachh Bharat Mission.
“Though the toilet was developed nearly two years ago, we had to ensure that our model was successful. So, we tested it in different locations to find out their compressive strength and water durability. This took some time,” said Harish.
The team will soon start putting up the toilets. The project, an Ammachi Labs’s initiative, has also been envisaged to ensure that open-defecation is brought down in villages. “The practice of not having toilets in houses is still very common among the backward communities of Bihar and Rajasthan, among others. Hence, open-defecation still exists. We want to bring an end to that,” he said. Presently, the team is preparing to file for patents for the model.
The toilet is called the MTF model (Monday-Tuesday-Finished) or the ‘two-day toilet’. Unlike other toilets, which is made using hollow-blocks, this is a mould-based construction. “Just like pottery molding, a big concrete mould is made. After this, it is placed inside the earth. It is set aside for four hours. A foundation for a wall is also made. There are provisions on the wall for door and roof sheet facilities. The mold-based toilet construction technique makes constructing toilets easier, efficient and economically viable for rural women. When used by a semi-skilled group of four women, the total time taken to construct a unit is reduced to 40 hours, as compared to 76 hours in conventional construction.