LOCALS call them honey-suckers, but don’t be fooled by the name. They cruise through the high-tech streets of India’s newest megacity, sucking up its lowest-tech problem: sewage. These trucks empty Bangalore’s million septic tanks and pit latrines, where the majority of its 10 million inhabitants relieve themselves.
In most places, sewage trucks discharge their cargo into streams and lakes, adding to local pollution. But in Bangalore, the honey-suckers head for farms outside the city, where their stinking loads are in demand to fertilise vegetables and coconut and banana trees. The farmers pay good money for human waste; it produces bumper crops. For them, it is sweet.”