More than 100 students from the College of Science and Technology (CST) in Phuentsholing now have an experience of constructing smart toilets.

They learnt the skill through the smart toilet innovation challenge organised at the college yesterday.

Bhutan Toilet Organisation (BTO) in partnership with a rotary club from Japan, the Junior Chamber International (JCI) organised the event at CST. The aim was to have future engineers think of smart toilets.

The Sustainable and Portable Toilet (SPT) design won the contest and received an award of Nu 50,000.

Team member Sonam Dorji, a final year student, said his team had three main aspects to building their model. “Portability, sustainability, and context,” he said.

The SPT is made of locally available bamboo, which the team explained adds to its sustainability. “It’s locally available and also cheaper,” a member said.

SPT can also be dismantled and transported.

The team members said using bamboo for construction with cultural designs add context.

Sonam Dorji also explained that the interiors of the toilet that include the water closet, water, tank, and the flush system are prototype. “Its sewerage has a system to segregate water from solid waste and treat it for reuse in the flush tank.”

About 40 teams from CST had applied to participate in the contest. However, 23 concept papers were accepted for review and 10 teams selected for the final design competition. Each team had four to five students.

BTO’s executive director, Passang Tshering, said toilets across the country today are not smart and pleasant. “They were built by our engineers.”

He said the competition was to give the young engineers a chance to understand the importance of toilets.

Passang Tshering also said that they are expecting such competitions to promote smart designs, which could be initiated for construction as “a made in Bhutan” product.

BTO also identifies its student representative at CST and other colleges in the country.

CST’s representative, Tashi Jamtsho said the toilet situation is improving today.

“We have a college BTO club at CST,” he said, adding that the club remains active in cleaning and maintaining toilets.

Although it is difficult to bring drastic impact in a place with a huge population, BTO club is working hard, Tashi Jamtsho said.

The club was formed last year.

At the competition yesterday, the Eco-Potty team was awarded the runners-up position with Nu 30,000 cash prize. Three other teams were also awarded Nu 10,000 each.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing