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L.Srikumar Pai
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A disposable toilet that can even be used as fertilizer

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A Swedish entrepreneur is planning to mass produce Peepoo, a biodegradable plastic bag that acts as a single-use toilet, which may help millions of urban slum dwellers in developing countries like India.

The bag, which is currently undergoing field trials in India and Kenya, is the brainchild of Anders Wilhelmson, an architect and professor in Stockholm.

Once used, the bag can be knotted and buried, and a layer of urea crystals breaks down the waste into fertiliser, killing off disease-producing pathogens found in feces.

"Not only is it sanitary, they can reuse this to grow crops," Wilhelmson was quoted as saying by The New York Times.

According to Wilhelmson, he has drawn inspiration to design the biodegradable toilet from Kenyan slum dwellers, who collect their excrement in a plastic bag and dispose of it by flinging it, calling it a "flyaway toilet" or a "helicopter toilet".

"People will say, It's valuable to me, but well priced," said the Swedish entrepreneur who has patented the bag and is confident that the bag will turn a profit.

He plans to sell the bag for about 2 or 3 cents -- comparable to the coast of an ordinary plastic bag.

According to United Nations figures, an estimated 2.6 billion people in the developing world, or about 40 percent of the earth¿s population, do not have access to a toilet.

It also estimates that 1.5 million children worldwide die from diarrhoea every year due to of poor sanitation and hygiene, which is largely because of open defecation of waste that contaminates drinking water.

To mitigate this, the United Nations has a goal to reduce by half the number of people without access to toilets by 2015.

According to Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organisation, a sanitation advocacy group, the market for low-cost toilets in the developing world is about a trillion dollars.

"As far as toilets go, the people in the middle class have reached saturation in consumption," said Sim, who calls himself a fan of the Peepoo.

"This has created a new need, urgently, of looking for a new customer." Meanwhile, Wilhelmson said he is pushing ahead with the Peepoo and start its mass production this summer when it completes one-year field testing in Kenya and India.

( Courtesy: Yahoo News)

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