Use dry toilets: Ladakh to tourists

LEH: Residents of Ladakh, reeling under a severe water crisis, want tourists to use traditional dry toilets instead of the commonly used flush ones.

Use dry toilets: Ladakh to tourists

A barren stretch in Ladakh. Tribune file Photo

Leh, September 4

Residents of Ladakh, reeling under a severe water crisis, want tourists to use traditional dry toilets instead of the commonly used flush ones.

The region gets scanty rain and depends on glaciers for their daily water needs. But due to global warming, the glaciers are depleting fast, posing a serious threat to the survival of Ladhakis, says noted Buddhist monk Bhikkhu Sanghasena, the founding president of the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre.

“The sources of water have depleted due to the influx of tourists. Hotels are sucking up the groundwater. There is a need for a mechanism to check this practice,” he says.

To save water, Ladakhis use traditional composting or dry toilets, while most of the hotels in the cities have flush toilets.

“Traditional Ladakhi toilets do not waste or pollute water like water toilets, and they also produce useful manure for fields and trees. Please throw a shovelful of earth down the hole after each use,” reads a poster outside a dry toilet in a monastery.

Rinchen Dolma, a local, says, “The region is grappling with a severe water shortage. But we have solutions. We use waterless toilets or composting toilets. You cannot even think of using water for sanitation in winter. It freezes. In our houses, we do not even have running taps.

“The tourists should and will have to use dry toilets. They, for their own comfort, cannot play with our lives,” she says.

Asked if the composting toilets are odourless, she says, “The climate conditions are such that the excreta does not stink. So, tourists must not hesitate in making a compromise and using dry toilets. Our houses have composting toilets. We do not face any such problem.”

Students here are also strongly in favour of tourists using dry toilets. Sonam Angma, a Class IX student at Mahabodhi Residential School, says: “We have been using dry toilets for long and they are completely safe. We see no reasons why tourists should not use them. The plus point is that the bacterial action breaks down the waste and then it can be put to use in the field. It is a good manure for crops.”

A composting toilet has two levels —- a toilet on the top and a composting unit underneath. After using the toilet, a bit of dirt is shovelled down the hole to cover the waste and block the foul smell. More importantly, it aids decomposition of the excreta.

Manish Wasuja, a sanitation expert from UNICEF-India, said, “The decomposition process takes more time in composting toilets as the temperature in places like Leh is very low. But local people have been using them for a long time now. Therefore, they are habitual of dry toilets.” — PTI

Top Stories

Shiromani Akali Dal breaks away from BJP-led NDA

Shiromani Akali Dal breaks away from BJP-led NDA

Decision taken at SAD core committee meeting

PM Modi promises to share Covid vaccine with rest of world

PM Modi promises to share Covid vaccine with rest of world

For how long will India be kept out of decision-making struc...

India, Sri Lanka set 11-point agenda to improve ties

India, Sri Lanka set 11-point agenda to improve ties

In response to PM Modi’s call on Sri Lankan govt to address ...

JP Nadda announces new team of BJP’s national office-bearers

JP Nadda announces new team of BJP’s national office-bearers

Elevation of Tarun Chugh and selection of former IPS Iqbal S...

Govt may need Rs 80,000 cr for COVID-19 vaccine in next 1 year: Adar Poonawalla

Govt may need Rs 80,000 cr for COVID-19 vaccine in next 1 year: Adar Poonawalla

Serum Institute is currently conducting a phase 3 clinical t...

Cities

View All