The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has developed a robot that can clean septic tanks without the need for humans. Ten units are expected to be distributed across Tamil Nadu under the name “HomoSEP,” and researchers are in contact with sanitation workers to determine where they will be placed.
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- According to IIT Madra, Gujarat and Maharashtra are being considered for the deployment of robots that have been designed with the goal of eliminating manual scavenging in the future.
- Through the support of the NGO, Safai Karamchari Andolan, the first two HomoSEP units have been delivered to self-help groups led by Nagamma and Ruth Mary, whose husbands tragically perished during sanitation work.
- The HomoSEP can homogenise stubborn sludge in septic tanks using a custom-developed rotating blade mechanism and pump the tank slurry using an integrated suction mechanism, according to Rajagopal.
The septic tank is a hazardous environment, filled with semi-solid and semi-fluid human faeces, which account for roughly two-thirds of the tank’s volume. Hundreds of people die each year in India as a result of manual scavenging in septic tanks, despite bans and prohibition orders.