bioloo - Sustainable Solution to the Sanitation Challenge

The bioloo, based on bio-digester technology, comprises an easy-to-install super-structure, a multi-chambered matriced tank with bacteria.

Photo of Sanjay Banka
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Banka BioLoo

Year founded

2012

Initiative stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $1mil - $5mil

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • More than 100,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water

Headquarters location: Country

  • India

Headquarters location: City

Hyderabad

Location(s) of impact

Pan-India

Website

http://www.bankabio.com

Facebook URL

http://www.facebook.com/banka.bioloo

Twitter URL

http://twitter.com/bankabioloo

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Sanitation facilities, globally and in India, are alarming with nearly 600 million people (half of India's population) having no access to toilets until 2014. People defecate in the open. This poses health hazards (including water-borne diseases and deaths), raises environmental concerns and leads to water contamination. This is coupled with the Indian Railways’s drop-chute toilet system wherein the human waste drops on the rail tracks. Untreated fecal matter is a grave threat to the well-being and good health.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Bioloos address the following needs/pain points of the end-user:
• Meet the need for basic, easy-to-install and hygienic human waste disposal mechanism in areas with no infrastructural facilities
• Address the need for a cheaper and easy-to-operate alternative to the traditional waste disposal system

The inoculum is a consortium of anaerobic bacteria, which have been screened and gradually adapted to work at temperatures as low as -5°C through the isolation of psychrophilic bacteria from Antarctica/Siachen. These convert the organic waste into water, methane and CO2. The anaerobic process inactivates the pathogens responsible for water-borne diseases. Bio-digesters serve as reaction vessels for bio-methanation and provide anaerobic conditions and the required temperature for the bacteria.

Bioloos treat the human waste onsite – obviating the need to carry/transport the fecal matter, no spoiling of environment or groundwater, and don't need any energy, no external infrastructure.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

The bioloos have a very strong social impact, which goes beyond providing access to affordable sanitation.
• Reduced health concerns and water-borne diseases through onsite waste treatment;
• Reduced School dropouts (more so for the girls), as we build more and more bioloos in schools;
• Womenfolk are the biggest beneficiaries – a toilet provides them sense of security and raises their dignity, we are also exhorting menstrual hygiene at the same time;
• Railway bio-toilets have a direct bearing on passengers, and huge indirect impact on millions of BoP families staying close to the rail tracks;
• Economy benefits immensely as the bioloo obviates the need for sewage transportation and centralized treatment; Such (planned) investments by governments can be directed in other areas such as education and healthcare.
• Hundreds of livelihoods enriched through job-creation in production, installation and service
• Effluent water reused, thereby decreasing pressure on freshwater supply

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

Banka BioLoo, the for-profit social enterprise, since inception, has believed in sustainability not only in the solution provision, but also in the delivery. Sanitation as a business - that's the model we work on. Hence, the enterprise has a strong financial sustainability component in the day-to-day operations and provision of solution-service. All amounts are realized as revenue: paid by the user, or through CSR initiatives when the donor company intends to support school sanitation. The company has grown steadily over the past 5 years, and margins, too, have improved thereby ensuring all stakeholders are taken care of adequately. The enterprise has equity and debt funds to run the operations, and the management adheres to sound business principles.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

The unique value proposition is two-fold:
Biotechnology
• Onsite fecal sludge treatment (obviating transportation and centralized treatment)
• No operations & maintenance cost and effort
• No energy dependency
• External sewage transportation and treatment not required
Banka BioLoo
• Significant brand in bio-toilets sector
• Strong capabilities across the value-chain
• Deep expertise: on-ground experience in many states and varying user base
• Passionate, reliable and dependable team

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

In a course in NGO Management in 2009 Namita learnt about social entrepreneurship and decided to work towards betterment of the society and environment, and also take it as a full-time profession. She tried various fields and finally, sanitation was an area to which she connected herself, as she had faced a lot of problems due to lack of proper sanitation facilities during previous works.

She worked closely with the Railways to adapt good environmental-friendly products and services and effectively manage their resources. At that time she actively worked with the officials and the vendors as a liasioner to improve the sanitation situation in the coaches by continuous monitoring and attending to the schedules of these toilets on a frequent basis. This helped in improving the state of CDTS (controlled discharge toilet system) and it later helped me bag the supply and service contracts.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Participated in previous CSV Prize competitions

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