Bindeshwar Pathak, noted social reformer and founder of Sulabh International, was on June 13, 2018 honoured with Japan's prestigious Nikkei Asia Prize.
The award was conferred to Pathak under the ‘Culture and Community’ category for his significant work in tackling poor hygiene and discrimination.
Speaking after receiving his award at the 23rd Nikkei Asia Prize ceremony in Tokyo, 75-year-old Pathak said that the honour will be another milestone in his commitment to the service of the society in Asia in particular and the world in general.
He dedicated the prize to the downtrodden section of the society.
• Pathak invented a two-pit pour-flush ecological compost toilet, known as the Sulabh toilet, for household use.
• The bacteria in the soil convert human waste into bio-fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that can raise agricultural productivity.
• The toilets have helped provide low-cost environment-friendly toilets to millions of people in the developing world.
• They have also ensured the safety for rural women and freedom from the manual labour.
• Throughout India, 1.5 million Sulabh toilets have been built in homes and more than 9,000 in public lavatories.
Biogas generation technology
In 1977, Pathak invented technology for producing biogas from human waste to be used for lamp fuel or cooking.
The other two awardees included:
Ma Jun: The Chinese environmentalist won the ‘business innovation prize’ for using the power of the internet to promote cleaner industry.
Nguyen Thanh Liem: The Vietnamese doctor won the prize for ‘science and technology’ in recognition of his work advancing health care for children.
About Nikkei Asia Prize
• The award was established in 1996 by Nikkei Inc, one of the largest media corporations in Japan, to commemorate its 120th anniversary.
• It honours individuals and groups in Asia who have made outstanding contributions in one of the three areas of regional growth, science, technology & innovation and culture & community.
• Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Infosys Chairman Narayan Murti are among the few Indians who have won the prize in the past.
About Sulabh International
• Sulabh International Social Service Organisation is a non-profit voluntary social organization, which was founded in 1970 by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak.
• The organization has been working for the removal of untouchability and social discrimination against human scavengers, a section of Indian society condemned to clean and carry human excreta manually.
• The organization is noted for achieving success in the field of cost-effective sanitation, waste management, liberation of scavengers, social transformation of society, prevention of environmental pollution and development of non-conventional sources of energy.
Major innovations of the organisation include:
- Two-pit pour flush toilet
- Safe and hygienic on-site human waste disposal technology
- Sulabh Complexes: The pay and use public toilets with bath, laundry and urinal facilities.
- Bio-gas generation
- Production of bio-fertilizer from excreta-based plants
- Low maintenance wastewater treatment plants of medium capacity for institutions and industries
Other work of the organization includes setting up of an English-medium public school in New Delhi and also a network of centres all over the country to train boys and girls from poor families so that they can compete in the open job market.