Problem of public urination

by Badhri on Jun 13, 2008      Category: Health & Disability Tags: public health sanitation

Hyderabad has a very "liberal" attitude when it comes to answering natures calls. Almost everyone seems to think "As long as it is out of your body, it doesn't matter where it goes".

I stay in an apartment adjoining a stream of sewage. Right on the main road, is a long compound wall and a relatively well constructed pavement. These are very attractive places for the "Filled-up and the Restless" to relieve themselves. There is also a moderately maintained Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation's (GHMC) public toilet. GHMC has strategically constructed such toilets at various locations in Hyderabad close to such places that are used as public toilet. However, the GHMC toilets are clearly not used properly. I think it is because of the one-rupee that is charged for use. Now this is a problem statement. The solution is to conceive a way by which the use of this (or any public) toilet can be enforced.

I think this issue is directly related to Standard of Living, though the benefits can be intangible prima facie. So, I am interested to do something to ensure that this trend doesn't continue. I am willing to take suggestions on this.

The questions that I have be answered are

  1. If you live in Hyderabad or a place that has similar attitude, do you think the cause the one-rupee charge?
  2. If, so, is that the only cause?

On my part, since I feel the money is the problem here, we can create a public fund of one rupee coins and allow (meaning persuade) "the Filled-up and the Restless" to use money from the fund for the toilet instead. That is the theory. I do understand practical considerations.

  • How to collect the money?

  • How to safe-guard and disburse the money (vending machine?)

  • How to advertise the fund and advertise against the use of compound wall or sewage.

But before all that

  1. Do you have any alternative/better/easier/more sensible ideas?
  2. If not at least do you think that this idea can be modified/improved?

We need to keep in mind that the idea may have to be implemented at different places in Hyderabad and elsewhere. This may be a farsighted consideration, but I think it is important nevertheless!

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5 Comments

Comments

ameetdesh's picture

This is such a pressing public need, in search of effective solution! I think, a vending machine in which there is a visible but tamperproof coin reservoir, which is filled with a starting deposit of say 30 Rs. provided by local charity, so that 30 people can use it for free. This will encourage people to use it, and then people who have used it for free, and can pay are welcome to deposit new coins for people coming after them. This is like "Pay if forward" scheme. People who cant pay can use toilet, people don't take it for granted, when they know somebody else paid for it. At least this should be tried on an experimental basis. Automating it will make it hopefully fraud proof, and charity will inspire more charity.

parulgupta8ue's picture

I think the problem is more the lack of enough public toilets (Sulabh Shauchalayas) than the money charged by them. The money charged by them is very small (1 or 2 rupees?) and more symbolic because people often don't respect what they get for free!

Nonetheless, if fee is a deterrent, this model might work. US based Charity focus (charityfocus.org) has a lot of "Pay it forward" programs that have run very successfully for a long time now! Not just those who use it, but anyone could voluntarily pay because these toilets bring a cleaner, nuisance-free surroundings for them.

Badhri's picture

Parul,
At least in Hyderabad (more specifically the part of Hyderabad where I reside) your opinion doesn't hold. Hyderabad Municipality, strategically chose places where such public flushing is high and built toilets, that are cleaner than an average public toilets in India. Yet, auto-drivers and software professionals alike, flush out in public. I wonder if we are against bad habit that has grown to be an entrenched social-ill.

Will check out the "pay it forward".

Thanks.

Badhri's picture

Have run into this article that attracts people to use public toilets.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/07/07/india.toilets/

Goli's picture

Yups I read that in Times of India,but then forgot to link it. Great that you have linked it. Seems like an very interesting concept.

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