New Delhi: No one probably knows the value of a toilet more than a woman. Many women still have to wait for long hours, restraining for hours even at the cost of their health and sometimes compromising their safety to venture out in the dark, either before sunrise or post sunset, just to relieve themselves. It is not unusual for girls to drop out of school after they attain puberty due to lack of toilets or access to unusable toilets. Even as toilets get built in larger numbers than ever before under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, some states have now started installing ‘Smart She Toilets’ in order to provide clean and safe sanitation facility for women.
Most of these toilets include facilities like have a western style toilet, a wash basin, a napkin-vending and incinerator unit, voting machine (for feedback on how clean the toilet is) and a baby feeding and diaper changing stations to give nursing mothers the much-needed privacy.
The first state to implement ‘She Toilets’ was Telangana in 2016. The authorities installed several toilets at different places across the state, particularly focusing on public places like bus stops. The striking feature about these toilets is the way these function – waste is treated on spot without the intervention of sanitation workers using advanced systems like anaerobic bio-degradation. What’s great is that these toilets use less water. The toilet also burns down cloth or sanitary pad dropped in it which helps in avoiding choking of sewer lines. On the occasion of World Toilet Day on November 19, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation announced the installation of 100 ‘She toilets’ across the city on priority basis. Till date, the city already has 25 She Toilets.
The next city to take the concept ahead is Pune. However, the city went a step ahead and instead of making constructing new toilets, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) decided to use refurbish the old busses that were about to get would otherwise have been scrapped and renovate them into mobile, women friendly toilets.
The pink colour buses are equipped with five toilets per bus —three are in Indian style and two are in western style. It also has a shower facility with water sensor and a machine dispensing sanitary napkin dispenser. The other interesting feature is that these buses are fully solar-operated and comes with a women safety feature in the form of a panic button which is an alarm to report any kind of threat inside the bus. These toilets are extremely safe to use as each bus have has a guard deployed there for security purposes.
Another the latest state to come on board with take up the concept of She Toilets for implementation is Kerala. On the occasion of World Toilet Day, Thiruvananthapuram Zoo opened its door to the first-ever ‘Smart She’ toilet on its premises. This one is different from the ‘She Toilets’ of other states as it has fully automated pre-flushing and flushing system along with modular features like a sanitary napkin vending machine and a napkin incinerator.
The toilet is furnished with amenities which is also there in all She Toilets like a chair, fan, and mirror along with baby feeding and diaper changing stations for the convenience of mothers.
Now that ‘She Toilets’ momentum is in full swing, the only step which is needed is to get more states going.