Tag Archives: public toilets

India, Chennai: public toilets – not enough, hardly used and badly maintained

There are only 714 public toilets in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, for a population of close to 5 million. Despite evident need, there is low usage of toilets by women and children, according to a survey of 49 public toilets in Zone 4 by Transparent Chennai.

Public toilet in Ayanavaram, Foxen Street, Zone 4, Division No:53, used by slum dwellers. There are frequent blocks, infrastructure is broken and the surroundings are dirty. There is no running water and insufficient lighting. People are also found drinking in the premises. Photo: Transparent Chennai

The toilets in the survey were often poorly maintained, locked at night, charged user fees through a process of what appears to be informal privatisation, and were located away from areas of greatest need, such as market areas, bus stops, areas with heavy pedestrian traffic, informal workplaces, and undeveloped slums.

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India, Tamil Nadu: public toilets in disrepair, villagers suffer

Public toilets constructed seven years ago in an Indian village, soon fell in disrepair because the pump that provided the water supply stopped working, and did not get repaired. Now the 2,500 inhabitants of Kokkarapati village, in Trichy district, Tamil Nadu, are deprived of any sanitation facilities, IndiaUnheard reports.

Non-functioning public toilet in Kokkarapati village. Video still, IndiaUnheard

The villagers have been demanding their administrators to undertake the necessary work, but their requests remain unanswered. The majority of the villagers are poor, and the public toilets were the only sanitation they could rely on, and they are now left with no other choice than defecating in the fields, or in any space where they can afford a bit of privacy.

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India, Kerala: girls’ school in Ernakulam first to get e-toilet

A government girls’ school in Ernakulam, Kerala, will soon be the first school in the country to get an electronic public toilet.

This is part of the suchi@school (Sustainable Comprehensive Hygiene Initiative) project, an initiative of local CPI (M) Member of Parliament comrade P. Rajeev. The project aims to ensure adequate sanitation facilities – toilets and urinals – in all government and government-aided schools in Ernakulam district.

A number of schools will be fitted with e-toilets, which have automatic doors and will self-clean after each use. Where water is scarce, recycling units using biomembrane reactors will be installed.

There are also plans for installing electronic sanitary napkin disposal systems.

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India, Mumbai: no toilets for cricket players

Local youngsters practise at Shivaji Park

Local youngsters practise at Shivaji Park, November 14, 2008 | Cricket Photo | ESPN Cricinfo

Azad Maidan, Cross Maidan, Oval Maidan and Shivaji Park. On these “maidans” or public parks of Mumbai, some of India’s biggest cricket stars like Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sandeep Patil, Ravi Shastri, Sanjay Manjrekar and Sachin Tendulkar started their careers. Mumbai has 211 maidan cricket clubs.

For decades the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has been fighting to equip the city’s maidans with basic facilties: toilets and drinking water. The problem is that many of these grounds are heritage sites with strict rules about any developments on them.

The authorities are not “ready to listen to anything”, lamented MCA treasurer Prof Ratnakar Shetty. The government suggested using mobile toilets, but Shetty that was not a practical solution. Not even political heavy-weights cum cricket officials like government ministers Sharad Pawar and Vilasrao Deshmukh have been able to help out it seems.

Former Indian cricket captain Dilip Vengsarkar too vented his frustration with the inflexibility of the heritage committee.

“We have been told that cricketers should use toilets at nearby stations. Is it possible for a cricketer padded up to go to urinate at stations?” asked Vengsarkar.

Read more about Mumbai’s cricket culture in:
Deepika Sorabjee, Mumbai’s maidans: Former birthplaces of India’s cricket gods, CNNGo.com, 01 Oct 2010

Source: Harit N Joshi, Mid Day, 16 Jul 2011

India, New Delhi: using Facebook and SMS to keep the city clean

With this photo on Facebook local resident Akshay Arora asks the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to "kindly send some one and get it clean this Toilet/Urinal". One day later on 7 April 2011, MCD replied: "Your complaint reference no. is 02/0704/SP"

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) launched its Facebook page in January 2011 and an integrated SMS service in March 2011 to enable public monitoring of garbage collection sites and public urinals/toilets in areas under its jurisdiction.The first experiences were positive as illustrated by the example of 22-year-old Piyush Goyal posted his complaint of garbage spilling over from the dump in his area.

On January 8, he clicked pictures of the seven dirty ones in South Delhi’s R K Puram area and posted them on Facebook. And the next day, he says, he saw the pictures of clean dhalaos uploaded by the MCD.

“There is lot of transparency through this way. The man who actually cleans it asked me why I uploaded the pictures. So the information is going from top to the bottom,” says Goyal.

MCD additional commissioner (engineering) Anshu Prakash added:

“This system is increasing transparency, fixing accountability and putting everything under public scrutiny. And none of us like to be ashamed in public. So people have started working at the bottom”.

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When are communal or public toilets an appropriate option?

When are communal or public toilets an appropriate option?We would all prefer to have our own household toilet rather than just access to a communal or public toilet but in some low-income urban communities, provision of individual household toilets is problematic. A recently published Topic Brief from WSUP (Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor) argues that, despite numerous challenges, communal or public toilets can be the most appropriate medium-term solution in some specific situations: notably in high-density slums with a high proportion of tenants and/or frequent flooding and water-logging. In such situations, what can be done to ensure that communal or public toilets provide a high-quality service of genuine benefit to all members of the community including women and the very poor? This Topic Brief offers an overview of these questions for sanitation professionals and planners.

Financing communal toilets
The financial sustainability and ongoing maintenance of communal and public toilets is a particular concern. The WSUP Practice Note “Financing communal toilets: the Tchemulane Project in Maputo” takes a look at issues around the financing of communal toilets in Maputo (Mozambique), including citywide scale-up costs.

These publications form part of a newly initiated series of Practice Notes and Topic Briefs, through which WSUP aims to share experience and stimulate debate about water and sanitation service provision for the urban poor.

To keep up to date with this growing publication series, go to http://www.wsup.com/sharing/index.htm or join our mailing list at http://www.wsup.com/news/index.htm.

Egypt, Cairo: the revolution’s toilets, Tahrir Square

Even revolutionaries have to go the toilet. This picture shows the mundane side of life at Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, which was the media focal point for anti-Mubarak protesters during 18 days of demonstrations. This is one of a series of pictures that BBC’s Yolande Knell took during a tour of the area. She writes:

The camp toilets are here in a shed formerly used by construction workers near the Egyptian Museum. After 18 days, the smell is quite incredible.

View the full pictorial display of the camp on the BBC web site (11 Feb 2011).

Guatemala: construction guides for rural WASH facilities

Five Cabin Latrine, Aqua Para La Salud (Guatemala). Photo: Global Water

NGO Global Water provides instructions for building rural water, sanitation, and hygiene-related facilities that were developed by its partner in Guatemala, Agua Para La Salud (Water for Health). The facilities include:

  • Ferro-Cement Water Storage Tank
  • Hand Washing Stations (Lavamanos)
  • Complete Spring Catchment System
  • Five Cabin Latrine
  • Gray Water Seepage Pits

View the designs at www.globalwater.org/how-to-build.html

Code Council and World Toilet Organization developing guidelines for public toilet design

For the past two years, the International Code Council (ICC) and the World Toilet Organization (WTO) have been working with committee members representing sanitation-related organizations around the globe to develop “Global Guidelines for Practical Toilet Design.” This document will standardize the design and installation of public toilets for virtually any country to easily adopt and follow. The guidelines will be presented at the forthcoming International Code Council World Toilet Summit.

Although public restrooms exist through much of the world, standardized design would be much more cost effective to install and maintain than having literally thousands of variations on a relatively basic design. This improved efficiency, not only reduces costs, but may enable installations in areas where previously they might not have been affordable.

This guideline will facilitate clean, convenient, hygienic and safe public toilet facilities of appropriate design and quality. It also will offer guidance on basic care and maintenance of these facilities. Specific provisions developed to date apply to the practical design, location, erection, installation, alteration, repairs, replacement, use and maintenance of public toilets.


Founding members of this committee and other professionals who contributed substantially to the initial draft of the Guidelines include: Kathryn Anthony, University of Illinois; Bill Chapman and Scott Chapman, Australian Toilet Organization; Dr. Steve Cummings, Standards Australia; Jan-Olof Drangert, Linkopings University; Peter Gorges, Exeloo; Clara Greed, University of the West of England, Bristol; Carol McCreary, PHLUSH; Trevor Mulaudzi, The Clean Shop; John-Henry Nicholas, Institute of Plumbing South Africa;Charles Owusu, Best Fund; Jay Peters and Sylvana Ricciarini, International Code Council; Jack Sim, World Toilet Organization; and Frank Wu, Wu & Associates Architects and Engineers.

Read the full press release (PRWeb / Earth Times, 21 Oct 2010)

UK toilet politics: Indian-style commodes scrapped

Councillor Farooq Ahmed called the lavatories 'an embarrassment to Rochdale' which had stirred up racial tension. Photo: ALAMY

A major shopping centre in Greater Manchester is removing the new Indian-style commodes it had installed after a public backlash against the move sparked fears of rising racial tension.

The shopping centre is visited by nearly 140,000 people every week, including Asians.

Outside the UK, the news also attracted the attention of the media in India.
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