The editorial “Improving sanitation” (Aug. 9) was timely. All existing toilet systems have some defects. It is difficult to achieve the millennium development goal of access to improved sanitation unless a special thrust is given to the improvement of sanitation systems and new technologies are adopted.

The ecological sanitation model adopted in 500 houses in Musiri, Tiruchi, with the support of UNICEF, the World Toilet Organisation and research institutions such as the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and the National Research Centre for Banana could shift the focus from water-centred to nutrient-centred toilet technology. It will save water, prevent pollution caused by sewage and open defecation and re-use human waste to promote agriculture and food security.

V. Ganapathy,

Tiruchi

* * *

I have seen Ecosan in action in a village called Thevathanam in Tiruchi, where it is used effectively and successfully by the people. The main benefit is that it reduces waterborne diseases. The health of the people, especially women and children, is safeguarded. By investing wisely in the health sector, both the government and the people stand to gain. Ecosan should be encouraged in every village.

P. James Raja,

Thiruvanathapuram

* * *

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation took a step in the right direction by giving around 2,000 student volunteers the powers of a clean-up marshal. They could slap fines on people who threw litter on the roads and relieved themselves in public. They could also fine roadside shops that dumped garbage on the road. It was a novel way of improving sanitation which is a basic need after food, clothing, shelter and education.

Shweta Nayakage,

Mumbai