Human waste sinks India's railway system away -

Human waste sinks India’s railway system away

And the problem is bigger than just the smell

A railway system wastes away


Some 30 million people travel by train in India every day, people who, as all of us must, go to the washroom from time to time. And so every day, a huge volume of human waste pours out of the bottom of trains, from both Western-style and squat toilets inside, directly onto the country’s massive rail network. As engineers now realize, there is a steep hidden cost attached.

The problem isn’t merely one of odour and human hygiene. The open-discharge toilets used almost exclusively in India are causing significant damage to the country’s rail infrastructure, with “serious safety implications” due to the corrosion of rails and related hardware, according to a recently released government report on India’s rail system.

The report, authored by prominent scientist and engineer Anil Kakodhar, recommended that all of India’s 43,000 rail carriages be retrofitted over the next five years with holding tanks for human waste, at a cost of $600 million. There is raucous debate over fare hikes the nationally owned railway could use to address its ailing infrastructure. But more than just cleanliness is at stake.


Human waste sinks India’s railway system away


  2. The far bigger problem- more serious from a human health standpoint- is the water quality.  The rivers are mostly just open sewers, the ground water wells are contaminated esp. during the monsoons,  and high chemical pollution, especially heavy metals and arsenic levels from poorly regulated or unregulated industries slowly poison  hundreds of millions,  mostly the very poor.  In addition, the water tables are dropping rapidly, irrigation is saltifying crop land;  rivers are being diverted and  so much water is taken that those downstream are left without.  The glacial fed rivers- the Brahmaputra,  Ganges and Indus are receiving less water, and the population  will double over the next 40 years.
    Hundreds of millions, especially poor children are already chronically malnourished, anemic,  and stunted mentally and physically.  Malnourished  young women-very young girls often- give birth to tiny malnourished infants.  The level of official corruption is staggering,  religious strife grows, police abuse is rampant,  and the exploitation of poor castes and in particular tribal peoples  goes on unchecked.
    The country is one failed monsoon away from an immense human catastrophe.   

    Shit along the railway pales in comparison.