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Let Us Help Marta To Build 100 Low Cost, Eco-Friendly And Maintenance Free Toilets In Villages

better village better world

by better village better world

1 Campaign

Marta wants to build 100 more self cleaning toilets.

  • 5,75,001 raised by 497 supporters

  • 54% Raised of 10,64,000 Goal

About campaign

Marta is an American native who settled in India in 2012 and started working in the remote villages of Uttar Pradesh.  She is building self-cleaning and no maintenance toilets called evapotranspiration in the villages under the project name “Better Village Better World”.

The total cost to construct one unit of this toilet is approximately Rs 10,000 while a normal toilet under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan costs Rs. 17,000. To curtail costs, they use broken bricks and recycled materials wherever possible, including fly ash bricks and used tires. Apart from occasional cleaning of the squatting platform no other maintenance is needed.

Till now she has built 166 toilets. Marta spent her own money on 82 toilets. The villagers help her with manual labour.

As per the latest Swachhta Status Report 2016, 52.1% of the rural population of the country still defecates in the open. Uttar Pradesh has the population of 204.2 million (2012 census) and only 35% of its households have toilets.

Problem and solution

In 2012, Marta surveyed a village in Uttar Pradesh. In the survey the majority of the villagers wanted toilets in their homes and communities. Marta explained different toilet models to the villagers. They choose “evapotranspiration” toilet model which is self-cleaning and no maintenance toilet. Also, this model requires less land to construct. Marta believes that “asking, listening, observing over time is key to understanding what people want.”

Marta is also a co-author of different books, research papers and has developed a theory for three-pronged strategy on development that incorporates health, education and the pieces of infrastructure.

The speciality of evapotranspiration toilet model

A normal toilet’s tank is filled with urine, faecal matter and water. The waste is later emptied either manually or using machines. Due to the opening in the septic tank the urine and faecal matter enter the soil causing health issues. But this evapotranspiration toilet is self-cleaning and maintenance free. The waste is filtered without human intervention and there is no soil pollution. This has been certified by FICCI Research and Analysis centre.

It is an on-site sanitation system for the chemical and biological treatment and reuse of household blackwater. It was developed and popularised over the last two to three decades by permaculture practitioners in different countries, especially the U.S. and Brazil.

How does evapotranspiration toilet work

As shown in the picture, the toilet consists of several layers consisting of soil, sand, small stones, big stones and finally a layer of recycled tyres. All these layers work together to clean the tank.

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The substructure layers together use the anaerobic digestion, capillary action, evaporation, and transpiration processes to filter, release and absorb the waste matter. Anaerobic digestion converts a portion of the human excreta into biogas, exiting out the back-standpipe.

The digested matter travels up and out through capillary action. The nutrients leave the system by incorporating into the plants’ biomass through mineralisation and absorption through its roots, while evapotranspiration removes the liquid, either transpiring through the plants or evaporating at the surface of the soil.

Effectiveness of the toilet model

  • User surveys: The team follows up with the toilet users, conducting several usage and performance surveys.
  • An accredited laboratory, local government authorities, engineers and sustainable architects all reviewed the toilet model.
  • The FICCI Research and Analysis centre collected samples from the toilets. The required parameters tested are within the permissible limits. Coliform and E.coli were not detected in the water hand pumps neighbouring the toilets.

Marta is aiming to build another 100 toilets in the remote villages of Uttar Pradesh. Let us come together and help her in building the toilets.

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Budget Breakup

Campaign Timeline


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Label Cost
Manual Labour 120000
Cement, sand, big and small stones 519700
Recycled tyres 120000
Toilet roofs 40000
Plants 21000
Other materials 243300