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Musiri : Story of an Ecologically Sensible Public Toilet PDF Print E-mail
Not far from the Cauvery river, in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirapalli district, is a public toilet run by the local government. Located at Saliyar Marg, alongside an irrigation canal that brings Cauvery water to farms downstream, the structure with 14 enclosures – seven each for men and women – has been built by the Nagar Panchayat of Musiri. The local government looks after its maintenance and upkeep.About a decade ago, the Musiri facility shot into fame as a public toilet where users are paid a charge, instead of users paying to use a facility, as happens in some other places. That, however, was only to encourage people living in neighbouring localities to try out the new-concept toilets. For these toilets are not linked to a sewage system, neither does it need soak pits or leach pits underneath.
The excreta and urine from this public toilet goes back to the agricultural fields, and helps grow delicious banana and other crops. All this happens through an entirely safe method. The public toilet of Musiri provides sanitation and dignity to people who were forced to defecate in the open earlier. It also contributes to food security, underlining the immense role sanitation programmes can play in improving not just public health, but also public wealth.

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