Waste to Health- turning pollution into resources
Cleaning Ganga
Lead Article
Lead Poster


Conversion of Sea-water
What is 'Clean'?
Sanitation in Human Habitation
Salt Remediation Honoured

Another View of Sanitation & Health


Understanding Plague

Role of sanitation pests was well understood by Dr Uday Bhawalkar during his PhD program(1975-1995) at the chemical engineering department of IIT Bombay. This is well presented in his thesis. This write-up is an attempt to present that understanding in simple terms that could be understood by a common man and also the policy makers.

Sanitation pests are ants(black, red, etc.), cockroaches, flies, rats and mosquitoes. Of these, mosquitoes breed in water and other sanitation pests breed on ground covered with organic food. It is a law of ecology that each animal is designed by Nature, to eat its designed food. So the food quality decides which animal will breed. Let us try to understand this.

Each food has carbohydrates(source of energy), proteins(body-building molecule) and nitrates(food pollution). It is the nitrates that decide which animal will breed with a given food supply. To make the understanding easier, let us denote the nitrates(food pollution) belonging to various bands as described below:

Band (Digit of Pollution) Animal
First Black ant, cockroach
Second Fly eating the food
Third Rat
Fourth Red ant
Fifth Fly maggots(breeding of flies)

Against the common perception, black ants and cockroaches abound in a relatively clean surrounding(food). Black ants are specifically honored in Indian culture as "god's ants", they indicate prosperity and their killing is forbidden. Cockroaches indicate slightly higher pollution, but still it is in the first digit. Cockroach is designed to present its ugly appearance to us, this is aimed at appealling us to increase the cleanliness of food and surrounding. While the mother may praise her schoolkid getting 92 marks, she will also challenge the kid to get full marks! To put it simply, having black ants in the house implies the house is 98% clean, cockroach indicates the house is 92% clean. There are two ways of reducing the cockroach problem: make the house clean or make it dirty by using toxic chemicals. Use of phenyl, dettol, savlon, etc. to clean the house or hospital, thus, amounts to increasing the pollution. This is no smart way to solve the pest problem in our surrounding!

Flies can come for two reasons, either to lay their eggs on putrifying proteinous foods or just for enjoying the sugar-rich foods. It is necessary to identify the role the fly is playing at a given instance. Putrifying flesh liberates horrible odor, this attracts the flies, they lay eggs which hatch into wriggly maggots. Maggots actually eat the putrid flesh and help clean the material, the maggots thus reduce the odor. When antibiotics have lost their effectiveness in modern times, modern hospitals in Europe and USA are using the fly maggots to clean the wounds and prevent gangrene. In fact, the maggot therapy was standardised by Napoleon's doctor. This was discontinued after the arrival of antibiotics on the scene. So, if there is odor and flies, the flies are there to do their prime task of laying eggs. If the flies are there without any odor, the flies are just enjoying their sugary meal, this food is in the second digit of pollution. Flies lay eggs only if the food is very toxic (fifth digit of pollution).

Rats come if the food is in the third digit of pollution. Food pollution gets amplified with warm temperature. Rats, hence are found to build up their population in the warm period after the rains(this brings in pollution after washing the polluted air that has built its nitrogen oxides over the past 100 years). This period is August-September when rats and rats' predator(cobra) aew worshipped in India through the festivals of Nag Panchami and Ganesh festival, respectively. Ganesh festival is for worshipping the Lord Ganesh as well as the rat(his vehicle). The message is to honor the scavenging role of rat, rat protects our health by eating the polluted food.

Red ants come in the fourth band of pollution, they bite us severely, only to indicate the seriousness of pollution.

If the proteinous food is heaped or buried underground, the fly maggots face problems reaching the food. Rats have the muscle power to penetrate such heaps or dead animals that are buried underground. This food, that is processed without the presence of oxygen, however, is too toxic for rats and hence they suffer from a disease called plague. Plague is the sign of overburdened sanitary workers of Nature. In general, any animal catches a disease only if subjected to stressful conditions(higher pollution).

So, if the dead animals are just kept on ground, the fly maggots will finish the job within a week, however first 5 days will create lot of odor. If the dead animal is already bloated due to drowning in water, the flesh is too toxic for the flies and the stench will continue for a long period. People can only think of burying such animals. But these can attract the rat action later and the rats can die of overburden of work, starting the plague. During the reign of Mughal king Jehangir, his capital(Agra, not Delhi) used to have plague. Jehangir has reported in his biography that the cats eating the plague-affcted rats.. also suffered from the plague. All connected animals that have low immunity, die of plague. Man is also connected because he has commited the mistake of either piling the garbage or buring the dead animals. No wonder, then that few weak souls also suffer from plague. This is Nature's way of warning us that we should tackle the pollution properly.

Pune-Mumbai region has 40 years of plague from 1896 to 1936. The plague used to come after the immersion of Lord Ganesh each year and last for a month or two. This matches with the model discussed above that pollution and warm temperature of October is a good period for plague.

Even the plague in the Latur's earthquake area also came in October. Dead animals that got buried under the debris created the plague. The Surat plague also came in October and this was due to burying the dead animals that came through the flooded Tapi river.

Veterinary experts recommend that dead animals be buried with liberal use of calcium oxide and salt, this delays the biological activity, carrying it over a year, instead of one month. Use of such materials act similar to the car's carburettor(slow, need-based release of petrol) and planting a tree on the buried animal(also with calcium oxide and salt) was an old practice in our villages.

If in Mumbai, we have buried the animals in haste, it is not recommended NOW to dig them out again. The stench can kill the municipal workers, 5 workers had instant death while they tried to shift a dead dog that had lied covered with pile of garbage in a municipal bin in Pune in 1998. An effective way is to biosanitize the area by sprinkling 10 grams of VERMI++ BIOSANITIZER per m2 of burial ground. This will help us to prevent any likelihood of plague in October 2005, in "Amchi Mumbai". Rain will take the BIOSANITIZER's effect below within a week's time. In general, every dumping ground should get its load of BIOSANITIZER at 10 grams/m2, to solve the problems of air-water pollution that the landfills create, this pollution comes back to us any way, through polluted acid rain(modern rain is rich in carbonic and nitric acids because the rain washes the polluted air that has more of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides due to our modern cars. So the landfills is no smart solution, it is only a NIMBY(Not In My BackYard) solution. With the use of BIOSANITIZER, the landfills will produce harvestable manure and thus will not get filled up, forcing us to go away from the city centre each year. It is however, very easy to recycle our garbage in our locality itself using the power of BIOSANITIZER, so trucking the garbage away and disturbing some other area is not necessary. Out of 800 tons of Pune's daily garbage production, it is estimated that about 200 tons gets processed daily by eco-sensitive citizens. They prefer YIMBY(Yes, In My Back Yard) to the NIMBY approach. Supreme Court of India has issued guidelines to keep the dry(packaging and other industry-originated) waste and wet(Nature-originated) waste separate at each house and encourage their recycling to their respective source. It has become mandatory for each new building that is constructed in Pune, to start the project to recycle wet(natural) waste using vermiculture or improved BIOSANITIZER method. It is, thus, not difficult to come to a zero garbage situation by adopting this practical method. Garbage, after all is only a raw material, it becomes organic waste only after we decide to waste it. "Wasted organics" is, thus, a better term for "organic wastes".


1. Why the plague that lasted in Pune-Mumbai region for 40 years at the beginning of twentieth century, not so common these days? If plague is due to pollution created by wrong handling of wasted solids, have we improved our methods recently?

>>We are still using the same old method, only we have become extra smart by shifting half of urban human excreta into rivers, lakes or into the sea. While in slums, human excreta gets mixed with the garbage, the elite use 999 parts of drinking water to flush 1 part of dry human excreta, thus producing sewage that is 99.9 percent drinking water. Because of this clever trick, plague has become less common these years. But then we get another sanitary pest- mosquitoes breed in polluted water bodies. They end up cleaning the water bodies when their larvae grow up consuming the water pollution. Mosquitoes bite only those people whose blood has nitrates. Only female mosquitoes bite us, they need blood with proteins and nitrates. Before actual biting, they sense our blood nitrates by smelling our skin. Nitrates produce specific smelling compounds in our blood and these are also in the sweat. Their biting also warns us to stop polluting our water bodies.

2. But, don't the mosquitoes breed in all stagnant water pools?

>> No, they need their food(nitrates). Rain water, though it looks apparently clean, has nitrates and no organic food. This is more difficult situation for mosquitoes and only dengue mosquitoes can do this difficult task. Malaria mosquitoes breed if sewage is mixed with the rain water. Because the sewage has organic food, it presents an easier task for the malaria mosquitoes. If there is still higher food/nitrates ratio, one sees breeding of ordinary mosquitoes that bite us during the night. At still higher food/nitrate ratio, we get breeding of frogs and fish. Fish is a prize Nature gives us if we do not overburden our water bodies with nitrates. Rain brings in nitrates, that is why we hear the frog-sound in the rainy season. It is to warn the wise man that our air is polluted with nitrogen oxides that produce rain with nitrates. Soil has a few mechanism to manage the nitrates, hence we get fish and frogs in pools, but if we store water in modern clean tanks, it breeds dengue mosquitoes. Storing rain water or even the municipal tap water for more than 10 days is a sure recipe to breed the dengue mosquitoes. Use of BIOSANITIZER is a simple way to clean the water body and thus prevent the mosquito breeding.

3. What about the human pathogens?

>> Pathogens are just the microscopic pests, these also proliferate in media that has less food/nitrates ratio. This is why the doctors administer glucose, to increase this ratio. Cheaper and more effective way is to treat our drinking water with SUJALA BIOSANITIZER and use this water for drinking, cooking, washing, cleaning, spraying, etc.

4. What is the origin of lepto?

>> With nitrates in our bodies, healing of wounds get delayed. If we are forced to walk through the water that is polluted with rat-urine, the lepto germs enter through the open wounds and we start suffering from lepto. One can prevent this by using BIOSANITIZER to reduce the rat activity, also by cleaning our drinking water and all water puddles and pools, using the BIOSANITIZER.

5. What is the origin of hepatitis?

>> It is a disease caused by higher level of nitrates in our body, hence gives us higher level of warning through more suffering. Also with the increasing bandwidth of nitrates that we find today, our proven drugs are becoming less effective, hence there is more fatality today. It has, thus become imperative to understand that the root cause of all pathogen-growth is wasted nitrates. Nitrates are good only for the plants(it is their food), they are not supposed to enter our bodies through food, water or air. Modern cars produce nitrogen oxide in air, even CNG and LPG produces nitrogen oxides. This leads to water pollution because rain washes the air through which it falls. Use of urea in modern agriculture produces food that is polluted with unutilised(resudual) nitrates, such food can be easily distinguished from the organic food by using a simple fact that organic food has better keeping quality. It is less affected by food-spoilage mechanisms such as fungal activity, insect-rat activity, etc. All these agents need more nitrates than the humans and they are fast enough to cull the food that is bad for the man. These are thus, only the Nature's mechanisms to cull the faulty food. Now one can use the BIOSANITIZED water(produced just by putting a one-time dose of the BIOSANITIZER granules in the well, birewell or water storage tank) for our food production, also using the biosanitized water to wash and cook our food is an effective way to remove the nitrates in an eco-friendly way.

6. What is Nature's way of nitrate management?

>> If nitrates are destroyed by the denitrifying bacteria, producing the nitrogen gas, carbon dioxide and warmth. This amounts to waste of Natural resources. Hence, Nature warns us about this reaction through odor and warmth production, also through the pest activity. If this reaction occurs in the bodies of our domestic animals or humans, pathogens come into play. This is also a warning mechanism.

Nature uses nitrates for the production of food, fuel, etc. While using the nitrates, Nature also uses carbon dioxide and warmth in the presence of plant enzymes(catalysts). BIOSANITIZER just replicates such Natural mechanisms to convert nitrates into oxygen. One packet of BIOSANITIZER can produce oxygen equivalent to an acre of rich natural forest, there there are several creatures also get their share of oxygen. BIOSANITIZER can convert urban pollution and produce oxygen to correct the deficit created by modern cars that rob the air of its oxygen and load with pollutants. One can now just put the BIOSANITIZER in the car's fuel tank and stop the air pollution, one also can get higher milage, higher power and the extra benefit of reduced sound pollution and reduced maintenance.. as a bonus.

7. How the climate change can disturb the rain pattern?

>> Rain is definitely related to air pollution. With extreme high level of air pollution, there is no rain and we face water scarcity. Rain is a reward for moderate air pollution, in fact our ancient texts also say this fact(Yadnyas produce the rain, yadnyas were performed to reduce the excess of air pollution). One can now use the modern BIOSANITIZER in the cars' fuel tank and perform yadnya to keep the air clean, to get moderate well-distributed rain pattern. Current level of air pollution in Mumbai and other fllod-affected areas, is marginally higher, hence Nature is producing more water from pollution. By reducing the air pollution further, we can tame the rain and also not have any water scarcity. This will be far cheaper than the idea of linking the rivers, that will strain our economy and create more eco-disasters. Each river has different ecology, hence linking them will amount to connecting a 240 V line to 11 kV high voltage line! With less air and rain pollution, the rainwater also seeps easily into the ground, thus helping us reduce the floods and build up the depleted groundwater reserve. Nitrates in the rain cause the growth of slimy bacteria. These choke the soil, hence flooding can be related to air and rain pollution.

8. What are the slimy bacteria?

>> These are the denitrifying bacteria that destroy the nitrates(resource for the plant growth). One can note the slimy bacterial growth within a day, our utensils produce this every day on the wet surface. It is necessary to prevent the accumulation of this growth and houseladies wash their utensils rightfully every day. The water storage tanks need frequent cleaning, but that is not practically possible. If we use the BIOSANITIZER granules in each water storage tank, the tank remains clean every minute through conversion of nitrates into oxygen. The nitrate-poor and oxy-rich water resists scaling, rusting, pathogen growth and breeding of mosquitoes. The biosanitized water also becomes an asset for drinking, cooking, cleaning and gardening. Sewage pruced with the use of biosanitized water also has an ability of self-purification, we just need to provide half a day's time in a tank(open or closed).









Bhawalkar Ecological Research Institute (BERI).
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