Railway Stations And The Insufferable Agony Of Waiting

An engineering marvel 20 years in the making, the Konkan Railway is a 741-kilometre-long route connecting Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. From Mumbai to Mangalore, the Konkan Railway covers some of the most scenic rail routes in India, passing through serene rivers and gorgeous valleys and awe-inspiring mountains. Since the complete rail line was opened in 1998, passenger traffic (and trains) on this route has steadily been increasing with services extended into Kerala too and now the Konkan Railways serves 1000s of passengers every single day.

While the Konkan Railway has been a welcome addition to India’s rail network, the increased passenger traffic on this line also means increased strain on the infrastructure at all stations along the route. With more and more people using Konkan Railway every day, facilities at all stations are under severe strain. As is the case with most public places that see a large number of footfalls, sanitation becomes increasingly challenging. Generally, toilets at railway stations across India are disproportionate to the number of people that use them, resulting in invariably overcrowded toilets and all the attendant issues that go with them.

Konkan Railways had set up biotoilets at several stations to ensure hygienic sanitation facilities for all passengers. However, overburdened toilets with minimal maintenance were proving to be a bigger challenge. Such was the case at Chiplun too when we were approached for a solution.

The toilets here had never been treated before, leading to massive sludge accumulation and resulting in overflow and untreated water leaking out of the closet. The toilets were stinking and leakages were helping the growth of pathogens in and around the toilets. Stagnant water was also helping mosquitoes thrive, posing a dangerous public health hazard. And people had also used the toilets to dump lots of waste – plastic bottles, paper, food wrappers and similar stuff – that shouldn’t be disposed of in toilets in any case. Added to this was the untreated wastewater leaking out, carrying all manners of toxic pathogens affecting the health of people and the surrounding environment.

Apart from the condition of the toilets, another area our help was sought with was to minimise the hard stains over the toilet seats and all over the railway platforms too.

We began immediate remedial treatment using Bioclean BD, BioArkk and Bioswitch Hard Stain Remover for each of the problem areas.

Bioclean BD is our revolutionary, all-natural, microbial biodigestor tank treatment solution with specially designed high enzyme producing bacteria that can completely degrade all fecal matter. Bioclean BD works equally efficiently in all climatic conditions and breaks down existing sludge while also minimizing sludge build up to prevent choke ups. Bioclean BD also curbs foul odour by inhibiting the growth of H2S and ammonia producing bacteria. It can degrade organic blockages in drain pipes too, thus resolving any overflow and backflow issues.

BioArkk is a herbal based cleaning product that efficiently cleans surfaces, removes stains and curbs odours. It does not allow the growth of germs and drives away pests such as ants, cockroaches & flies as well.

Bioswitch Hard Stain Remover is our proprietary blend of microbes that can remove tough surface stains. It ensures deep cleaning of surfaces and delivers a longer lasting effect on cleaned surfaces.

We started treatment of the biotoilets with Bioclean BD. First we mixed Bioclean BD with water and flushed this down the toilets to unclog the drain pipes and send all bacteria into the biodigester tank. We had different treatment protocols for the two compartments of the biodigester tank. In the first compartment, there was a lot of waste like plastic bottles and food wrappers and we used a more concentrated mixture of Bioclean BD to treat this compartment. The second compartment had only organic waste and we used a slightly more diluted mix of Bioclean BD here.

The results started to show almost instantly. Within 10 days, all the sludge in the second compartment had fully broken down and the water quality showed significant improvement too. Over a 3-month period our treatment ensured fecal sludge was reduced by 5 feet and all foul odours in the vicinity were completely eliminated. Water clarity was improved too with COD values reducing by nearly 65%. TDS was reduced by nearly 50% and and TSS was reduced by 43%. Even TVS values were down 71%.

Simultaneously we also started treatment for the stains.

The toilet seats were covered with black stains and we started treating them with Bioswitch Hard Stain Remover four times a day. This treatment, followed by a simple scrubbing with water, successfully removed all black stains from the toilet seats.

For the floors and walls, we used BioArkk for treatment. A lot of the stains on the floors and the walls were paan stains from people happily spitting on them. Using a small quantity of BioArkk 4 times a day ensured that all these stains were successfully wiped out.

For many people, train travel is the most romantic travel experience. The single-biggest grouse about train travel though is the hygiene levels at sanitation facilities both on trains and at stations. With our treatment at Chiplun, we can safely say there is at least one station where the toilets will not take away from the romance of train travel.

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