Public toilets today are as important as building a flyover or wearing a helmet while driving. The Prime Minister’s vision of a ‘Swach Bharat’ and open defecation free country did catch attention of the general public and saw the support of many on the ground. But the authorities in the city, even after repeated pleas by multiple activities, citizens and the media, seem to ignore the requests of maintaining the installed toilets in the city.
While several citizens Pune365 spoke to opined that due to lack of basic facilities like lights, availability of water, regular cleaning etc, they tend to avoid using the public toilets, some also said that it is not just the authorities who are only responsible.
Lack of basic infrastructure at a public toilet.Satish Gaikwad, a city-based civil engineer, says that these public toilets are just placed in the city so that no one points at the authorities that they aren’t doing anything. “Think about people in the slum areas or near the Pune railway station, bus depot and others places where they do not have access to toilets. They are the ones who use these public toilets a lot. At least for them they should have installed toilets and clean them otherwise they will resort to going to the nearby river bed to defecate. Moreover, toilets at Swargate bus stop or even Pune railway station are not cleaned. These are public places that ought to have such basic services,” adds Gaikwad.
Sara Screwala, a teacher says, “The toilets are in the worst condition and cannot be used even in times of emergencies. Elderly women, children, pregnant women among others face a lot of difficulty without them. A dirty toilet means an invitation to various diseases. There’s nothing worse that wanting to use the toilet, but you see that it has been blocked and no amount of flushing will help. This is just one reason that looking into something like commercial plumber vancouver and using the services that professionals like these offer will help make all the difference when it comes to maintaining the hygiene of local washrooms. There are these mobile toilets placed at different spots in the city but I have seen a lot of them locked or in a pathetic condition.
“However, it is our fault too that some of us take public property for granted. How much time does it take to flush a toilet? We soil them and say, they aren’t cleaned. Yet, we also cannot get away with the fact that some toilets even do not have 24×7 water supply to deal with this problem. Ideally, it is the authorities and the citizens who need to take the responsibility and try to improve the conditions of the toilet in our city,” she adds.
However, it is not just Pune, many cities in the country are also faced with this problem. Seeing no improvement in the conditions of public toilets in the country, Harry Sehrawat and Archit Aggarwal, IIT-Delhi students, invented a unique instrument to let women take charge of their own safety.
“In my early days I used to see my sister struggle a lot while travelling in terms of getting a clean and hygienic washroom while travelling. Later, my sister was detected with UTI too. This is was the first time I was introduced to the fact that dirty and unhygienic toilets can cause infections and diseases,” says Harry Sehrawat.
“After I got admitted to IIT-D, I came across various projects analysing the conditions of public washroom conditions in Delhi. Lack of poor infrastructure, hygienic environment, cleanliness was some of the problems we narrowed down onto. We thought of two ideas, either develop auto-cleaning devices, hire people to clean the toilet using the machine or completely eliminate the physical contact with the toilet seat. Since the first would cost huge investment, we went with the latter.
“This is how ‘Stand and Pee’ (Sanfe) was developed which allows women to stand and pee too. This device is made of up biodegradable paper that can be used ones and then discarded. The device is designed keeping in mind the biological structure of the intimate part of a women and can be used by anyone, young or old. The device is safe to use, menstrual friendly and is tested by real people. It can be currently ordered online for just Rs 10. It will soon be available at the nearest Apollo Hospital.
“Public toilets in the rural areas are a major problem; hence we will soon be reaching the rural parts of the country and will be making the cost even cheaper in the later weeks. Improving the hygienic conditions in India is our aim hence is targets are the urban poor and rural areas in the country. With the support of the government, I hope we will be able to reach out to the majority of women in the country and provide them with options for safe and hygienic washroom experience,” adds Harry.
#All views are those of the respondent’s and Pune365 doesnot necessarily subscribe to them.
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