Thursday, June 9, 2011

Museum of Toilets

I know it sounds strange, but today we visited the International Museum of Toilets located here in New Delhi. Really.
Audrey's Canadian friend, Alexis joined us for this adventure... The museum is managed by an India-based NGO called, Sulabh International. The organization's mission is to develop low-cost, reusable, disposal systems for human waste. The systems actually pretty interesting. They are designed to range in cost from about $20-200 per unit.

The designs use local materials like wood, brick, stone, or even concrete made from bacteria-free, recycled human waste. Sublabh's proven concept eliminates the escape of greenhouse gases, and removes the need and cost of transporting waste. The majority of the waste is recycled locally into 99.9% bacteria-free fertilizer. Units have also been designed and successfully built to capture and distribute bio-gas for local use in cooking, lighting and heating.
The museum provides a guided summary of the 4,500 year old history of toilets. (beginning with the Indus Valley civilizations and winding its way through Egypt, Rome, Europe, England and the Americas) The history toilets culminates with NASA's high-tech vacuum systems used by astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station. The staff and scientists at Sulabh shared their ideas about the future of simple, yet proven biodegradable and sustainable technologies.
In the past 25 years, Sulabh International has constructed some 650,000 twin "pour-flush" toilet systems in India and the developing world. Within India alone, it is still estimated that over 600 million people continue do their "business" outside because of cultural habit or because they do not have access to sanitary, functional facilities.
Human waste is huge issue for public health and safety, and continues to be one of the main contamination sources of public drinking water. The problem persists throughout other parts of the world including Africa, many parts of South Asia, Central & South America and throughout rural Pacific island nations..
For more info on Sulabh Interational and their innovative sanitation, power and human service initiatives, go to:

It may be toilets, but its important, and curiously fascinating stuff.