The COVID-19 pandemic, that set foot on this planet a year ago, has dealt a blow to the entire world economy. As India, the sixth largest economy in the world, begins to get back on track post this setback, it’s simultaneously gearing up to transcend the United Kingdom, to become the fifth largest, by 2025.
Infrastructure, a major priority of the Indian government, continues to be one of the major factors in the development of the economy. The Indian government invests funds that amount to over 9% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
However, a developing country, the demographic trends in India are as varied and large as its economy. In consequence, government’s decisions with regard to public infrastructure are always place under close scrutiny, considering a large number of people are at stake. Similarly, the public sanitation system also persists to remain under scrutiny, and is often looked down on, by people across the nation and international tourists as well.
Let’s have a look at some of the plausible factors, that might justify their distaste for public washrooms!
Public sanitation system in India is flawed at its very foundation. Enough space and funds are often not allocated to the construction of public toilets in India. Several people, who have had exposure to the misery of public toilets during an emergency, would testify to this statement.
Erected in a dingy environment, they boast of leaking roofs, and a shoddy drainage system along with poorly executed construction work, right from their emergence, owing to a lack of proper construction.
India hasn’t had a righteous history with regard to maintenance. With walls wearing paan stains as a badge of honor, and public infrastructure in dire straits, the sanitation system isn’t exempted from this torment either, and poor construction makes maintenance more of an issue.
A common sight in Indian public toilets, people are greeted with empty soap dispensers, faulty faucets, dysfunctional doors, and an unclean environment, which are all cardinal yet neglected amenities.
3. Privacy and Safety
India, a nation that idolizes goddesses, is ironically plagued with prevalent crimes against women. A place where young girls are often forbidden from stepping out in the dark, using public toilets isn’t encouraged either.
Exposure to filthy seats, and an overall insanitary environment pose numerous health risks, including Urinary Tract Infections, which can take a toll on kidneys eventually.
If that’s not reason enough, unhinged doors and unmonitored entry of potential predators, are enough to deter women from using public toilets.
4. Civic Sense
Civic sense is one of the factors that doesn’t involve discrepancies on the part of the authorities.
People with inappropriate hygiene practices, many a time, leave the toilets unflushed and don’t bother to maintain the cleanliness standards. If the attendants were to carry out a cleansing drill every time someone used a toilet, they’d get caught in a practically impossible vicious circle.
Hence, supposing the concerned authorities manage to maintain the sanitation system well, people who are devoid of basic hygiene, will find a way to wreak havoc.
As mentioned earlier, India shares a complicated equation with maintenance. People are so used to witnessing garbage dumped on the streets, and public infrastructure destitute of comprehensive maintenance and repair, that the possibility of a clean and well-maintained public washroom doesn’t occur to them.
In consequence, they stick to their aversion to the use of public toilets, as a result of their past experiences and misconceptions.
Swachh Bharat Mission, a step towards better waste management, that gained momentum during the first term of Modi government, somewhat initiated ordered cleanliness drives throughout the nation. However, the work that is put into these drives, falls far short of people’s expectations with regard to public toilets, and isn’t sufficient to put an end to their misery.