Dhaka metropolitan facesserious public toilet crisis
Toilets should be installed every half kilometer
Staff Correspondent: Akalima Begum works in a private company in Motijheel. After finishing office at 4:30 in the afternoon boarded a bus bound for Mirpur. Soon after going to Shahbagh, he needed to go to the toilet. But could not find public toilet anywhere around. But he already knew about a public toilet adjacent to Anand Cinema Hall in Farmgate. So, after half an hour he went down to Farmgate after suffering.Buy a ticket for Tk 10 and use the public toilet.
When asked about the suffering of women in the public toilet crisis in the city, Akalima Begum told that talking about the public toilet crisis or suffering cannot end. You have to be in fear all the time while traveling by bus. Avoid eating foods that create pressure in the toilet. Because there is nowhere to go when the roads are crowded. I can’t even tell anyone. In most cases, I press it and go home.
Mother Parveen Zaman brought her daughter to Dhaka Metropolitan Women’s College from Nayabazar in old Dhaka to Laxmibazar. He went to send his daughter to college at 9:30 am on Tuesday (March 21). On his way back, his toilet was pressed. Then a rickshaw puller found a public toilet in Bahadur Shah Park. He used the toilet by buying a ticket of Tk 5.
This reporter spoke to Parveen posing as a journalist. He said there was no problem as there were public toilets nearby. Toilet environment is cleaned like home. There is a separate system for men and women. But the crisis of women is more. Necessary work can’t be done anywhere. Considering the suffering of women, it is necessary to construct public toilets in important areas of the city.
The picture of citizens suffering due to public toilet crisis in Dhaka city is daily. Public toilets are very inadequate compared to the population in the city. As a result, nearly two crore people of the city are constantly in such situations. But still there is no such initiative of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) to build adequate public toilets. Now there are only 138 public toilets in DNCC and DSCC in whole Dhaka city.
The private NGO Water Aid conducted a survey on public toilets three years ago. According to the data of that survey, one crore people, including residents and foreigners, travel in Dhaka every day. But there is no toilet for their use. Even the existing toilets of the corporation are not always clean. In such a situation, Water Aid has constructed 31 public toilets with aesthetic design in different places in Dhaka city. Each of their toilets has facilities for men and women and disabled.
Apart from this, these toilets have women friendly environment and female caretakers, clean drinking water, soap, ablution and bathing facilities.
DSCC and DNCC
After investigation, it is known that there are 138 public toilets in the two city corporations of Dhaka. Out of this 91 in DSCC. And 47 in DNCC. About 10 more public toilets are under construction in these two city corporations. Every newly constructed public toilet is equipped with clean drinking water, shower room, baby feeding room and round-the-clock electricity system keeping in mind the floating people inside the toilet. CCTV cameras have been installed outside the toilet for security.
A modern building surrounded by black glass in Azimpur bus stand area. The large nameplate on the building, written ‘Public Toilet’, attracts more attention than the architecture of the building. On the way, everyone was surprised to see ‘Public Toilet’ written on the huge building. On the surface, the three-story building is basically a library. Its name is ‘Ajimpur Nagar Pathagar’. There is a public toilet on the ground floor. It is open for public use. People of different classes and occupations are using the toilet by paying money. The environment of the toilet is as clean as the house.
Elias Hossain, a resident of Hazaribagh, used this toilet for Tk 5. He said that the public toilet here has benefited the pedestrians a lot. The environment of the toilet is very nice. Many people do not have such clean toilets in their homes. Thus, if toilets are installed in important places of Dhaka, the suffering of the citizens will be reduced.
Shaheen, the cleaner, was on duty in the men’s section of this toilet. He said that the library with this toilet was inaugurated on March 2. Every day many people come here to use the toilet. Seeing the good environment, many women also use the toilet.
Pedestrian Jamal Miah was defecating on a corner of the pavement next to the road in Abul Hotel area of Khilgaon. When asked, he said, I left Malibagh for Rampura on foot. Got urine pressure on the way. But I didn’t see any public toilet around. Unable to handle the pressure, I am working in a corner on the sidewalk. It was my fault though. Such a situation would not have happened if there were enough public toilets in the city. No one used to toilet on the sidewalk or on the road. Or no one had to go home by pressing the toilet.
When asked about increasing public toilets in the city, Superintending Engineer (Environment, Climate and Disaster Management Circle) of DNCC Mohammad Abul Kashem said that public toilets are one of the services that DNCC provides to the citizens. 47 new public toilets have been constructed with DNCC’s own funding. Construction of seven more public toilets is in progress.
He said, all the new public toilets of DNCC have been made in modern design. Citizens feel comfortable using these toilets. There are plans to install more public toilets at important public places in the city in the future.DSCC chief engineer Saleh Ahmed said almost the same thing.
Installation of 31 modern toilets of Water Aid in Dhaka
Considering the suffering of citizens in Dhaka, private NGO Water Aid has set up 31 public toilets in different areas of the city on its own initiative. Water Aid has hired professional cleaning staff to operate and maintain these toilets. Besides, the organization has also formed a committee for the overall management of the toilet. The committee regularly supervises the management of the toilets.
The money received from the users of the toilet is deposited in the bank account opened in the name of the toilet. That money is being used through the committee for running toilets, staff salaries, paying utility bills and repairs.
According to Water Aid sources, compared to the demand, the number of public toilets in Dhaka city is totally insufficient. The management of the toilets was not good.
It was not women friendly, healthy and not suitable for people with disabilities. As a result, many were forced to defecate everywhere and in dirty toilets. In such a situation, an agreement was signed between Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), Dhaka Wasa and Water Aid on August 26, 2014 to make public toilets suitable for human use. According to the contract, Water Aid has constructed and operated 30 standard clean toilets at two city corporation sites.
According to the contract, Water Aid has constructed and operated 30 standard clean toilets at two city corporation sites. Later, Water Aid made a separate agreement with Bangladesh Railway.
Now under the supervision of Water Aid Gabtali Inter-District Bus Terminal, Gulshan-2, Nabisco, Tejgaon Sat Rasta, Mohammadpur, Mohakhali, Shyamoli, Tejgaon Truck Terminal, Dhaka Zoo, Farmgate, Mirpur-12, Azimpur Bus Stand, Mohakhali Kakh Bazar, Mohakhali Zaman Filling Station, Panthkunj Park, Maniknagar, Osmani Udyan (two), Muktangan, Bahadur Shah Park, Syedabad Inter-District Bus Terminal (three), Dayaganj Bazar (two), Dhaka District Administration (three), Lalbagh have public toilets.
Apart from this, Water Aid has recently installed another modern public toilet at Kamalapur railway station. Every public toilet has separate facilities for men and women, shower, clean drinking water, locker, sanitary napkin box, breast feeding facilities. Among them, water aid is taking Tk 5 for toilet use, Tk 10 for shower, Tk 1 for each glass of pure water, Tk 5 for locker, Tk 10 for each piece of sanitary napkin. But there is no fee for ablution and breast feeding.
Water Aid manager BM Zahidul Islam told that under the agreement, we have constructed 31 public toilets in two city corporations of Dhaka, Kamalapur railway station. The terms of the agreement were that the City Corporation and the Railways would provide space. We will construct buildings or structures. And Dhaka WASA will provide water.
He said that the number of women using public toilets is increasing due to safety and cleanliness. However, the number of public toilets is very insufficient compared to the demand. The city needs one public toilet every half kilometer in proportion to population. If this is done it will benefit the public health along with improving the environment of the city.
When asked, Water Aid Bangladesh Policy and Advocacy Director Perth Hefaz Sikh told that we have been working with the local government department for a long time to eliminate the public toilet crisis. With them we are developing a policy for public toilet operations and management in Bangladesh, which is nearing completion. I have tried to put in the policy what facilities should be available in public toilets at airports, shopping malls or bus terminals.
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