The New Jersey Water Environment Association (NJWEA) honored Chatham High School senior Nishita Sinha for her efforts to develop and build safe and economical composting toilets for the developing world.

The NJWEA presented Sinha with a $10,000 contribution on May 6 to help her continue her work on improving sanitation conditions around the world. The President of the New Jersey Water Environment Association (NJWEA), Thomas Grenci, presented Sinha with the check and honored her for her accomplishments. The name of the charity is the R.N. Sinha Foundation.

“It's just really great that NJWEA is willing to do something like this," Sinha said. "The amount of trust NJWEA puts into high school and college students and their research is incredible and extremely motivational in helping all of us continue to follow our dreams and research more.

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"This donation is particularly great because it means that we can install 40-50 new toilets in the villages in northern India. This donation means that around 200 people will no longer have to defecate in the open, which paves the way for the spread of disease and cases of stunted growth to hopefully further decrease. Personally, it feels great that people are willing to support my dream of improving sanitation, and it really convinces me that we can do this - we can end the sanitation crisis worldwide.”

 Last year, Sinha was the winner of 2016 New Jersey Stockholm Junior Water Prize (NJ SJWP) for her research in developing the Composting Toilet and was nominated to represent New Jersey in the national SJWP competition. She then went on to win the US National SJWP prize and represented the US at the International Competition in Stockholm, Sweden.

In 2017 Sinha once again won the NJ SJWP prize but opted out of the National Competition since she had already won the national competition in 2016 and wanted other students to have the opportunity. Nevertheless, to recognize Nishita’s achievement during the 2016 cycle, the New Jersey Water Environment Association (NJWEA) invited her during their annual convention in May 2017 in Atlantic City to give a speech and to be honored by NJWEA President Mr. Thomas Grenci on May 10th. NJWEA is the organizer for NJ SJWP.

NJWEA commended Nishita for her decision to donate her 2016 US SJWP award of $10,000 towards the construction of new Composting Toilets based on her improved design in and around her ancestral village in northern India. Toilets for over 100 families have been built using that donation. As part of honoring Sinh, NJWEA decided to make a further $10,000 donation to the Composting Toilet project.

In building the toilets around her ancestral village, Sinha is working with the R.N. Sinha Foundation, which was founded by her family as a charitable organization in the memory of her grandfather Mr. R. N. Sinha. The R.N. Sinha foundation has a dedicated team of three for the Composting Toilet project that helps with the construction of these toilet as per instructions from Nishita and also facilitates the collection of matching contributions from the local governments.

The organization also ensures that each family contributes a small portion of the cost as well. This way, although each toilet costs about $450, the number of constructed toilets is maximized. Over 100 toilets have been built so far.  

The collaboration between Nishita and R.N. Sinha Foundation started in spring 2015 when she was starting the project and visited the ancestral village in India to conduct a survey along with another family from her Chatham Girl Scout troupe.