Smart Toilets


A new concept from Gramalaya

SMART toilets means

  • S – Safe and Sustainable
  • M – Maintainable 
  • A – Affordable
  • R – Recyclable (Waste)
  • T – Technically Perfect


SMART Toilets are the appropriate toilet designs

Under SBM – Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin program, individual household toilets are promoted by Central and State Government with subsidy to the eligible families.  The families who have no toilets could construct individual household latrines at their houses by using the subsidy made available to them where a twin-pit-toilet promoted with roof facilities with permanent superstructures.  The toilets promoted by the Government is 4′ x 4″ size with a height of 6.5″ wherein a water closet (squatting pan) fixed and connected to the twin leach pit system using the junction chamber or a diversion chamber.  The twin leach-pit toilets constructed under SBM program in the rural areas where the faecal matter would be composted by anaerobic bacteria and when one pit is filled, the filled pit would be closed for a year period at least and another pit is opened using the diversion chamber. By using the twin leach pit toilet system and the diversion chamber, human excreta could be safely disposed and thereby preventing open defecation in the communities. However, the toilet size is 4′ breadth x 4′ length having a 16 sq.feet toilet space.  The absence of facilities for keeping water for storage and use and inadequate space resulted in the toilet facilities are only for defecation purpose and could not be used for any other morning ablutions like bathing, privacy for adolescent girls and women for changing their soiled sanitary napkins and disposal facility including storage of water inside the toilet for hand washing after toilet usage.  Gramalaya has designed the UNDP designed twin-leach-pit toilet from 4′ x 4′ size to 4′ x 8′ size with a provision bathroom and storage of water facilities.  This has resulted in 100% toilet usage and hand washing habits among the users which ultimately improved their standards of life and prevented faecal-oral diseases.

When human waste (feces) is not managed well, it pollutes water, food, and soil with germs andleads to diarrhoea and other health problems. Using toilets prevents germs from getting into the environment and protects the health.  In India, for promoting of sanitary latrine, in addition to Government of India and respective state Governments, many NGOs are involved in sanitation promotion activities. Gramalaya based on its 3 decades of experience in the sanitation sector, promoting SMART toilets (S – Safe and Sustainable, M – Maintainable, A – Affordable, R – Recyclable (waste), T – Technically perfect) under the leadership of its Founder Chairman Shri S. Damodaran. SMART toilets are designed by the Founder of Gramalaya and promoted in South India with the support of State and Central Governments, international organisations like Unicef, Habitat for Humanity, Arghyam  and with the support of corporate groups through CSR Initiatives.  The SMART toilets are being constructed and promoted by Gramalaya are of good quality with a guarantee of 25 years durability adhering to the standards specifications.  The SMART toilets enabled the users not only for defecation but also for hand washing after toilet usage, brushing their teeth and keeping other hygiene kit materials inside the toilet like soap etc.,  storage of water, taking bath inside and privacy for women and adolescent girls for sanitary napkins change and manual incinerator for safe disposal of the sanitary napkins.  The user friendly SMART toilet enabled the toilet user to perform more than 10 activities (morning ablutions) inside the space available in the SMART toilet.  The twin leach pit toilet system with a junction chamber to divert the waste into one pit to another pit after filling and converting the human excreta as compost (humus) in anaerobic conditions, the waste water from the bathroom for kitchen gardening thus raising nutritious vegetables from the waste water, incinerator for soiled sanitary napkins disposal resulted in zero waste management toilet system and also eco-friendly with user friendly toilet models.

Toilets for all

What are the salient features of SMART toilets

By promoting SMART toilets among the communities, not only open defecation practices prevented by toilet usage but also it is enabling the users to observe good hygiene habits like hand washing, safe disposal of waste, using the waste water for kitchen gardening, making the village environment clean and neat.  It is encouraging the girls and children to use and maintain the assets created in the villages as well as children could practice good hygiene habits. By providing bath attached toilet facilities and as well as the water storage facilities, motivating the communities to use and maintain the toilet facilities and prevent open defecation practices.  This will result in long lasting hygiene behaviour changes among the people that led to overall improvement of the living standards and health of the people.  The SMART toilets are provided by Gramalaya are of good quality with standard engineering specifications adhered resulted in durable, maintainable and appropriate assets created for sustainable usage and maintenance among the users.  

So far Gramalaya has promoted more than 6,00,000 individual household toilets in South India particularly in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Puducherry States since 1989. 

Out of the above 6,00,000 individual toilets, 1,00,000 plus toilets are of SMART Toilets promoted with the help of different donor organisations, CSR initiatives and under SBM program.  In Puducherry State with the bilateral agreement with State Government, Gramalaya has promoted 26,000 plus individual household SMART toilets which are 97% above usage and maintenance by the families and making Puducherry State as ODF .  In Jogulamba Gadwal District of Telangana State, 5,500 household latrines were constructed by Gramalaya making 7 villages as Open defecation free as announced by the District Collectors and SBM project functionaries. As a result of the sanitation programs of Gramalaya, more than 100 villages declared as open defecation free in different States in South India. The SMART toilets are of sustainable toilet models which could withstand heavy winds, rain and serve the community as shelter during natural disasters.  These SMART toilets were promoted by Gramalaya with peoples’s contribution and active involvement through the CBOs formed by Gramalaya where the capacity building and training support made the communities empowered through toilet programs.