Sanjay Banka, Private Sector representative at SWA Steering Committee

Interview with the first elected representative of this constituency

16 Jun, 2016 in

 Sanjay Banka

As of June 2016, Sanjay Banka, Managing Director at Banka Bioloo, has become the first private sector representative on SWA's Steering Committee.

 1. Why is it important for the private sector to engage actively in SWA?

 

The private sector involvement in water is no longer just about profit-making.  The type and scale of businesses engagement with WASH is enormous.  A growing number of businesses work in WASH, many work for WASH and even more with WASH.  In 2015, World Economic Forum identified water as the # 1 business risk.  It is clear that water, sanitation and hygiene issues can’t be tackled by governments alone, as is used to be assumed.  Greater business involvement with WASH is critical to meet the SDGs, especially in expanding at scale and in enabling services to last.  Past experiences have shown that the private sector is better-placed to provide long-lasting and equitable solutions and services.

Government dialogue with private sector agencies is increasing and new models of interaction are emerging  SWA’s opening up to include PS partners is a major step forward in helping to build the scale and sustainability that the SDGs require.

2. What are the biggest challenges to achieving Goal 6 and how can the private sector contribute? 

 

The resource gap is too wide in terms of providing safe water and adequate sanitation, mainly to the economically-socially deprived sections of the society. Resources, capital and human-power, have to be mobilized in enough quantity to be able to provide access. At the same time, it has to be ensured that these resources are adequately utilized. Stakeholders need to do this through regular monitoring and feedback. The private sector has a long-term perspective in anything it does, and the same applies to providing sustainable services in water and sanitation. The private sector, with adequate support from governments, NGOs and CSOs, and other institutions/organizations can deliver to the vast masses of people across the globe. There has to be a business-like attitude even in achieving social goals.

 3. Can you tell us more about Banka BioLoo?

 

Sanitation facilities in India are alarmingly poor with nearly 600 million people (half of India's population) having no access to toilets. People are forced to defecate in the open. This poses health hazards, raises environmental concerns and leads to water contamination. This is coupled with the Indian Railways’s open-chute toilet system wherein the human waste drops on the rail tracks. Untreated fecal matter lying in the open is a grave threat to the well-being and good health of the society and the environment, and a threat to sustainable living.

Banka BioLoo’s solutions address the following needs/pain points of the end-user:

  • Meet the need for basic, easy-to-install and hygienic human waste disposal mechanism in areas with no infrastructural facilities
  • Address the need for a cheaper and easy-to-operate alternative to the traditional waste disposal system

 

Bio-toilets treat the human waste at source - no need to carry, no spoiling of environment or groundwater, and don't need any energy, no heavy infrastructure required. On the contrary, the system leaves pathogen-free water as effluent that can be re-used. For large bio-tanks, methane can be collected and used. These can be installed anywhere, without specification of land type, terrain, distance, etc.

The bio-toilet system disposes human waste 

  • in 100% eco-friendly manner
  • saves energy
  • conserves water
  • produces bio-gas

 

The entire concept of bio-toilet (or bioloo) is socially and environmentally driven.  In India, many marginalized sections and the not so better off communities (rural and urban) don’t have access to sanitation facilities. The bioloos are an affordable and durable solution to the challenge of lack of toilets, as also help in waste treatment at site. Women are at greater risk, and suffer loss of security and dignity, including higher hygiene need, for want of a toilet. Bioloos help tackle all these issues.