Tag Archives: market sanitation

Pakistan, Karachi: sanitation, more than just household latrines

This moving anecdote illustrates how the lack of public toilet affects women in Pakistan. It was posted as a comment to an article in newspaper Dawn about the release in Pakistan of WaterAid’s report “Off-track, off-target: Why investment in water, sanitation and hygiene is not reaching those who need it most”.

Besides 48 million Pakistanis who defecated in the open, there are millions of women in big cities who have no place to go to when out of their homes. Pakistani women are shoppers, they spend hours in bazaars where there are few public toilets for men, and most certainly, none for women. I experienced an incident sometime ago, and also sent the story to Jung newspaper; they published it under the heading “Vo auwrat”, but nothing was done about it. I was approached by a young boy hardly 5-6 years old near Empress Market who asked me where the toilet was. I stopped and looked around and saw a young woman in burka sitting on her heels near the wall on the footpath with tears in her eyes, and she covered her face when she saw me looking at her. I did nothing, I could do nothing, I just walked away. People who have been to the Empress Market know that nothing could be done to help that poor lady. How many women go through that agony in Pakistan, everyday, I don’t know.

Source: Agha Ata, comment posted 20 Nov 2011 on “Causing a Stink”, Dawn, 19 Nov 2011

Bangladesh: addressing the market place to ensure sanitation for all

Development in Bangladesh is usually segregated into two broad contextsurban and rural. However, between these two defined areas lie many market places and growth centres which do not fall within either category and are therefore escaping the eyes of the development planners.

In Bangladesh, the exact number of hats or bazaars is not known to me at this moment but it is clear to us that there is at least one hat or bazaar within walking distance of everyone in Bangladesh.


Despite the large transient populations water and sanitation facilities in hats and bazaars are negligible. People are forced to openly defecate and urinate close to food stores, with little opportunities to wash hands. Where latrine opportunities are available there is seldom any specific facilities for women. Solid waste management is generally absent.


The country strategy which aims for “total sanitation” [covering all parts of the country with sanitation facilities] and “sanitation for all” [no one will be left out from sanitation service and facilities] by the year 2010 will be ignoring a large component if hats and bazaars are not properly included. Despite investing a lot of money and a huge effort given by government and non-government agencies large populations will be facing high risks of contracting the water and excreta borne diseases.

Source: Md. Firoj Alam (UNICEF), Daily Star, 20 Sep 2008 [also available on India Environmental Portal]