Somewhere in Pune....

At a time when the city is battling a pandemic, which calls for scrupulous maintenance of hygiene and grappling with the lockdown that has strained its manpower availability, Pune Municipal Corporation has found a magic potion to declog its public toilets. A Baner-based biotechnology firm has started supplying sachets of sewage sludge-eating bacteria that rids the toilets of any clogging and foul odour, without deploying much water.

The 50-gm sachets consisting of water-soluble paper filled with billions of such bacteria have been distributed in slum pockets such as Patil Estate and Janata Vasahat in Shivajinagar. This has addressed a rising sanitation problem afflicting the thickly populated slums, where choked sewage lines, overloaded septic tanks and overflow of pathogen-laden untreated water is commonplace.

The sachets produced by Amalgam Biotech have armed the civic body to ensure hygiene in these trying times, preventing water-borne diseases in slums. Explaining the technology, Anil Joshi, the technical executive from Amalgam Biotech said, “The entire sachet is simply emptied into the toilet bowl and it instantly dissolves in the water, releasing billions of bacteria that eat away human excreta making the toilet odour free. This usage eliminates the need for sewage vacuum suction tankers and pipeline cleaning. Similarly, for the urinal we provide Bacta Swachh — a spray that carries liquid bacteria culture, which also declogs and rids the toilet of bad smells.”

Confirming the efficacy of the product, Dnyaneshwar Molak, who helms PMC’s solid waste management department said, “We’ve tested the product, distributing it in the slum dwellings. Our officials accompanied the staff of Amalgam Biotech, when they demonstrated the use of the product in the slums. This will be a valuable input given the poor quality of our infrastructure and paucity of water.”

People who have used the sachets are impressed. “It worked wonders. The toilet cleaned out immediately. Many times, we have toilet that remain clogged for long, reeking terribly and posing health hazards. If such products are supplied to us from time to time, it will be a blessing,” cheered Asha Dhage, a resident of Patil Estate.

Ashutosh Vadanagekar, who owns Amalgam Biotech, is very gung ho about his product. “We are already in talks with NGOs and corporates working in the space of health and sanitation. We are going by the much-touted mantra of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Vocal for Local’ for an open defecation-free India.

We hope to reach areas ignored or left unattended so far,” he further emphasised.

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