An interview with sanitation entrepreneur Mayank Midha.
As a child, Mayank Midha remembers how his mother and sister suffered during long distance journeys in India. They had to “hold themselves up” because there were hardly any decent public toilets on the way.
There is still a shortage of well-maintained public toilets in India, says Mayank. This affects women and girls most. Men can more easily urinate or defecate in the open.
On 7 September 2016, Mayank Midha won the Sanitation Innovation Accelerator 2016, a search for an inclusive and sustainable solution for rural sanitation in India. The judges praised Mayank for developing an indestructible smart toilet, which is much cheaper than comparable models without comprising on quality.
Mayank has been in the manufacturing business for the past seven years. As an engineer with a post-graduate degree in rural management, he is interested in technical solutions for the poorest people at the “Base of the Pyramid” (BoP). After completing a project to manufacture telecom enclosure panels, he saw three spare panels lying in the factory. Their structure made Mayank think, why not change some specifications and use them to construct Portable Smart Toilets?
After a year a prototype was ready in 2015 and in 2016 the stainless steel insulated GARV Toilet was born. Solar panels power LED lights and exhaust fans inside the toilet. Using stainless steel for the superstructure, toilet pans, and washbasins has multiple advantages: the units are vandal-proof, easy to clean and they don’t rust. This means a higher shelf-life with lower operating costs.