Mumbai: 23-year-old Aarti Roshan from Pune had avoided using public toilets all her life due to unhygienic and unclean status of these toilets. However, a few days ago she was in for a surprise after spotting a women-friendly toilet in the city. At first, she thought it was a bus-shaped art installation but once she stepped inside, she discovered a swanky restroom for women that boasted standards of hygiene and sanitation.
When I was in my early teens, I was diagnosed with an infection near my uterus area after using a public toilet. Since then I have preferred controlling my bladder than using a public restroom. I was stunned to see the solar-powered toilets inside a bus. It was so clean and well-maintained just like the toilets we find abroad. If such toilets are the future of female hygiene in India, then I believe we are secured, says Aarti, a student of law.
Like Aarti hundreds of women in Pune have been taken by surprise to find these clean public conveniences built inside old discarded buses in the last one year. The brains behind converting old buses to toilets are Pune-based Ulka Sadalkar and Rajeev Kher, entrepreneurs in the sanitation sector. The duo has been working towards changing the plight of public toilets in the city for the last 13 years.
In the past, they have been instrumental in bringing the concept of mobile toilets in the city. Through their enterprise ‘Saraplast Pvt. Ltd’, they have till now provided several mobile toilets in collaboration with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) under their initiative of ‘Ti for Toilet’ (‘Ti’ in Marathi translates to ‘She’)
It was last year in March when the Ulka and Rajeev met the officials from PMC to discuss the idea of converting old and damaged buses into toilets exclusively for women.
We have been in the business of sanitation for a long time now and we try to look for new innovations regularly. In one of our researches we came across an organisation that puts old buses to use by installing toilets in them. There are several public buses in Pune that end up at landfills or with scrap dealers and so we decided to make use of them, Rajiv Khera tells NDTV.
While the PMC provided buses and locations for parking the newly constructed toilets to Ulka and Rajeev, corporate houses pooled in financial resources under Corporate Social Responsibility activities. Known as sanitation centres, eleven bus-toilets are stationed across the city.
Each centre has two styles of toilets – western and Indian. It has facilities like diaper changing place, sanitary napkin dispensers, wash basin, a screen displaying messages on cleanliness and hygiene and a staff to assist the users. Since the model is not self-sustainable, a user charge of Rs 5 is levied.
All the centres are portable or movable but Ulka and Rajeeve believe that parking them in one spot will attract more users.
We have the liberty to move the buses but if its stationed in one place then women will not have search for them every time, they have to answer nature’s call. This way they can also tell their friends, peers and colleagues about it, says Mr Khera. On average, close to 150 women use the toilets per day.
Why Women-Friendly Toilets Are Important?
Did you know that holding or delaying peeing or pooping for long can cause infections and affect the bladder muscles and kidney? Lack of toilet access can have grave health consequences for Women. Even more harmful is having access to toilets that are unclean and unhygienic. Menstruating women, on the other hand, also need a private and accessible toilet. Being unable to manage menstruation hygienically affects women’s health, mobility and dignity. Using the same sanitary product for too long can increase the risk of infection, while not washing hands after changing menstrual products can spread infections such as Hepatitis B.
Thus, having a women-friendly toilet that are equipped with facilities like handwashing, adequate water and sanitary napkin dispensers become extremely important to prevent the transfer of bacteria, viruses and parasites found in human excreta which otherwise contaminate water resources, soil and food.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.
Leaving No One Behind
Delhi’s Northwest District Launches 4-Day COVID Vaccination Drive For Transgender People
Activists say misinformation, lack of proper documents and digital divide are to be blamed for the low vaccination coverage in...
5.22 Per Cent Transgender Persons Vaccinated Till Now; Activists Say Misinformation, Lack Of Digital Knowledge Adding To Their Problems
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also requested states to organise separate mobile COVID-19 vaccination centres or booths...
Discrimination And Barriers Make Access To Quality Healthcare A Challenge For Many Transgenders
Transgender individuals have specific healthcare needs; however, they face multiple obstacles to accessing quality health care ranging from social stigma...
Uttar Pradesh’s First Transgender-Only Toilet Built In Varanasi
According to an official at the municipal corporation of Varanasi, the operation and maintenance of the toilet complex has been...
Mental Health Explained: What Is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD is an intense physical and emotional response to thoughts and reminders of the event: CDC, United States
How Can Parents Support Children Dealing With Mental Health Issues Like Anxiety And Depression
Remember, a change in a child’s behaviour like mood swings and angry outbursts is an indication of inner turmoil, said...
Upward Trend In Suicide Cases: How Can You Identify Red Signals In Time?
Studies show that suicide is the leading cause of death among 15-29 year old in India. What compels young adults...
Each COVID-19 Surge Poses A Risk For Healthcare Workers: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The surging Delta variant is heaping on fresh trauma as the United States and other nations begin to study Post-Traumatic...
Depression Can Be Classified As Serious Illness In Context Of COVID-19 Pandemic: Gujarat High Court
The Gujarat High Court set aside the cancellation of registration and admission of an engineering student by a government college...
U.N. Says World Likely To Miss Climate Targets Despite COVID Pause In Emissions
There is now a 40 per cent chance that the average global temperature in one of the next five years...
Make The Choices That Help Make A Difference, John Kerry, Special US Envoy On Climate Change Crisis
In an exclusive interview with NDTV, US climate envoy John Kerry talks about climate change emergency
Climate Change Biggest Global Challenge, India Committed To Combat It: Union Environment Minister
Speaking at the launch of Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue (CAFMD) under India-US Climate Clean Energy Agenda 2030, Union...
Rajasthani Artisan Creates Ganesh Idols From Environment-Friendly Materials
Unlike idols made out of synthetic materials which cause harm to water bodies after their immersion, eco-friendly idols that artist...