An Overview Of Our Solution
Banka BioLoo has a deep commitment to ending open defecation; and implementing cost-effective, environmentally-conscious and socially-acceptable sanitation systems – true sustainable solutions.
The bioloo comprises an easy-to-install toilet structure (cabin), a bio-digester tank with bacterial inoculum in the tank, that treats fecal waste onsite. The company serves a diverse set of users and clientele – railways, national and regional government entities, state-owned enterprises, publicly-traded and private companies, foundations and charities, non-profit organizations, construction and infrastructure sites, plantations, defense and paramilitary forces, by providing bioloos in trains, communities, schools, homes, institutes, offices, hotels, healthcare facilities, worksites such as manufacturing facilities, factories, mines and many similar settings.
- Population Impacted 1000000
- Continent: Asia
Before the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), sanitation facilities in India were scarce, with over 600 million people (half of India’s population) with no access to toilets, particularly in rural areas. People were forced to defecate in the open, which posed health hazards, raising environmental concerns and leading to water contamination.
From times immemorial, open defecation has been in vogue in India and people defecated, mostly, in the fields and bushes, outside the villages. The country faced the challenges of inadequate number of toilets (hardware) for the vast majority, and behavioural change (software) in addressing the sanitation conundrum.
Describe the technical solution you wanted the target audience to adopt
The premise of bioloo is environmentally-friendly. The system treats waste at source with no energy requirement. The resultant nutrient-rich effluent water is good for gardening. In case of a large bio-digester tank, we can collect and use the biogas. If treated further, the water can be used for other purposes, including industrial and domestic. If the water is not reused, it is allowed to seep underground, and recharge the groundwater. The bioloo doesn’t require specific operation and maintenance.
The bioloo has been hailed as climate-supportive and resilient owing to its nature of being long-lasting and durable, treating waste onsite and being present in every stage of sanitation value chain: emptying, transportation, treatment (externally), and disposal.
Describe your behavioral intervention.
We conduct community meetings, meet the officers in governments and private sector, helping them understand the need for safe water and sanitation.
Behavioral Levers Utilized
As needed, please explain how you utilized the lever(s) in more detail.
Non-access to toilets and open defecation lead to water-borne doseases, more expenditure on health and medication, lower productivity at work, and decreased attendance in schools - more so for girls.
Describe your implementation
When something is done repeatedly over time, it becomes a habit, and the new "change" becomes near permanent. We ensured that we not only created the asset (bioloo), which is long-lasting, but also impressed upon the users the ills of not using the bioloo, and the benefits of its daily usage. Periodically, our team members would interact with users to get feedback and in that effort, understand the usage pattern.
The government and swachhata preraks (sanitation motivators) also complemented our efforts in pushing for this change. Likewise, we explained to school children the benefits of sanitation and hygiene, and the importance of using bioloo. This was extremely helpful, as those boys and girls carried the messages home, which would reinforce change within the family.
We ring-fenced the change, using appropriate hardware and software, as we know that dysfunctional and poor-quality toilets repel people, leaving the toilets in disuse.
Describe the leadership for your solution. Who is leading the implementation?
The senior leadership is adept at handling their respective domains and/or functions, through a healthy combination of generalist and specialist education and background. The founders – Sanjay (Chairman) and Namita (Managing Director) – are responsible for the overall management and healthy growth of the enterprise. CEO Vishal is in-charge of day-to-day operations, CFO Rama Krishna is strongly positioned to handle accounts, finance and investments, and Executive Director Akhilesh manages the largest piece of work, the O&M of bioloos in trains.
Share some of the key partners or stakeholders engaged in your solution development and implementation.
We have diverse partners, such as Indian Railways, national and regional government entities, state-owned enterprises, publicly-traded and private companies, foundations and charities, non-profit organizations, construction, infrastructure and manufacturing companies, plantations, defense and paramilitary forces.
Who adopted the desired behavior(s) and to what degree? Include an explanation of how you measured a change in behavior.
The Company has installed 10,000 bioloos across India, and services 13,000 bioloos in trains every day. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been impacted and millions of liters of wastewater recycled. The Company grew multi-fold in revenue as well as profits. In this process – positive impact has been socially, environmentally, economically.
We, currently, collect social and environmental data through field staff. They collect data through smartphones, and send to the corporate office for storage and evaluation. The data points are: number of bioloo installations/serviced, number of users, their socio-economic background (ensuring adhering to data privacy norms) etc. Likewise, recycled water’s physical-chemical properties are tested for usability, and further purification, if required.
How did you impact water pollution? Please be specific and include measurement methodology where relevant.
By treating the fecal sludge onsite and ensuring that the wastewater neither lies on the surface, nor is drained in water bodies, nor seeps underground untreated.
How has your solution impacted equity challenges (including race, gender, ethnicity, social class/income, or others)?
Example - more girls attending schools, reduced drop-outs. Same situation at worksites.
What were some social and/or community co-benefits?
Reduced expenditure on health-related and medical issues.
higher attendance in schools, offices and at sites.
What were some environmental co-benefits?
circular economy concept
effluent water and biosolids used as soil conditioner - enancing agriculture produce
What were some sustainable development co-benefits?
completion of eduction in schools
better economic environment (higher productivity)
livelihoods creation - employment increased
Sustainability: Describe the economic sustainability of your solution.
We sell sanitation products and provide services. We sell/serve, directly, to the user or consumer, or indirectly. By indirect, we mean that the economic payer is a business or governmental entity and the user/beneficiary is from the marginalized or low-income group. For instance, we install bioloos in schools where children from low-income families study. The bioloos are paid for by businesses, through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Similarly, governments, too, have to step in to provide solutions to the marginalized and vulnerable. We provide that on behalf of the government, and we are paid by the municipal corporations and similar entities.
Return on investment: How much did it cost to implement these activities? How do your results above compare to this investment?
The bioloo is cost-effective as it treats waste onsite, and user doesn't have to bear any cost
later. We price the bioloo from INR 30,000 to INR 40,000 - depending on factors such as
additional items like overhead water tank, handwash basin, flush tank, source water
connectivity. The mainstream alternative, the twin-pit latrine can cost INR 20,000. The
advantage of bioloo is that the fecal waste is being treated as well, which is not the case for
twin-pit latrine. The bioloo are long-lasting (over 25 years); there is no need to empty the
bio-digester tank. With the extra money paid for the bioloo, the user buys "peace of mind".
How could we successfully replicate this solution elsewhere?
Yes, we have scaled and replicated in different geographies of India - through local production and installation. Depending on the need, funds could vary from USD 100,000 to upwards of a million USD.