The Big Arse Toilet Initiative Supports Hygiene and Sanitation in India

SPARK launches its The Big Arse Toilet in support of World Toilet Day 19 November 2018. SPARK, a Singapore, Shanghai and London based team of designers and thinkers working in the disciplines of architecture, urbanism, interior design, landscape design, research and branding, has developed an easily transportable 3D printed toilet module in support of the UN initiative to combat open defecation and the associated issues of hygiene and sanitation in India.

Open defecation is major contributing cause of disease in underdeveloped countries. SPARK’s bold concept converts human waste into biogas and via a micro CHP unit (combined heat and power) converts the biogas into electricity. The proposal aims to highlight the urgency of eliminating open defecation as well as the positive benefit of using a natural waste product to create ‘free’ energy for remote communities.

Some 842 000 people in low- and middle-income countries die as a result of inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene each year. Poor sanitation is believed to be the main cause in 280,000 of these deaths. Eight hundred and ninety two million people worldwide practise open defecation that perpetuates the vicious cycle of disease and poverty. The countries where open defecation is most widespread have the highest number of deaths of children aged under five years as well as the highest levels of malnutrition and poverty.

SPARK’s proposal provides cost effective toilet modules printed from a mixture of processed bamboo fibre and gum resin.

A model of the toilet.

The toilet modules sit on and a secured to a buried 3D printed reinterpretation of a traditional biogas dome that uses human, animal and vegetable waste to generate and store gas. The biogas fuels a micro CHP unit to create electricity.

The printed monocoque shell of the toilet comes complete with toilet bowl and basin printed as part of the homogenous surface of the toilet cubicle. The exterior of the shell can be rendered or finished with a variety of materials appropriate to local context and environment.

A drawing showing how the toilet will work.

The toilet and its associated biogas dome can be flown by drone into remote locations as complete and easily docked together locally. The biogas dome has been sized to function for 10 years, generating enough electricity to power a small community of eight dwellings.

SPARK’s The Big Arse Toilet, so called given its form, can provide sanitation and power to communities that lack both these basic utilities.

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