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Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu’s unused public toilets need a facelift

KATHMANDU: The existing 242 toilets, currently being unused due to their poor condition, require facelift to resolve the problem of public toilet shortage in the Kathmandu Valley, a survey result has shown.
The study conducted by Guthi to ascertain the status of the public toilets in four municipalities of the Kathmandu Valley–Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), Lalitpur Metropolitan City (LMC), Kirtipur Municipality (KM) and Madhyapur Thimi Municipality (MTM)– has shown that the public toilets are in a pathetic condition and require good improvement.All the toilets scored very low in terms of gender friendliness, menstrual hygiene management, and disabled friendliness.
Prakash Amatya, technical adviser to Guthi, and country representative of AEROSAN, said that existing 62 public toilets could be brought into use after some maintenance.
It has said that 119 existing public toilets, toilets in religious places, parks, commercial buildings, government buildings, hospitals and petrol pumps have not been in operation due to lack of proper public toilet guidelines. The survey included altogether 242 toilets of the valley. Proper guidelines to manage, operate existing unused public toilets and for building new toilets are all the more necessary, he said.
The Guthi report showed that there are 37 existing public toilets in KMC, nine in LMC, 10 in KM and six in MTM. Likewise, there are 22 toilets in religious places- 2 in KMC, five in LMC, two in KM and five in MTM. The number of toilets in the government buildings with regular access to public stands at 15, whereas parks have eight toilets, petrol pumps 84, commercial buildings and malls 22 and hospitals 17 in the four local levels of the valley
According to the Guthi report in 2019, 36 toilets excluding those available in the religious places, parks, petrol pumps, hospital and commercial building or malls are in operation.
The study report 2019 of Environment Management Department of KMC showed 46 public toilets except for those in the petrol pumps, hospital and malls have existed. Likewise, the report of the City Planning Commission of KMC showed that 56 toilets exist except for those available in the petrol pumps, hospital and malls have existed in the valley.
The Guthi has recommended an immediate repair and upgrading of 242 toilets to improve the current condition of public latrines. It also recommended introduction of public toilet guideline at municipal and national levels.
The report said most of the public toilets in four municipalities are in a sorry state. “In the first phase, the four municipalities must repair and maintain the existing public toilets and should gradually add new and advanced ones,” said Amatya.
Of the total 32 wards of KMC, ward numbers 2, 5, 21, 24, 25, 29, 30 and 31 have no public toilet. Similarly, ward numbers- 8, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28 and 29 of LMC, wards number 2, 4,5, 8, 9 12, 13 and 14 of KM and ward numbers of 2, 4 and 7 of MTM have no public toilets at all, the report said. As per the report, of 12 existing disabled-friendly toilets, only two toilets are in operation.
Sunil Subedi, section officer of KMC, said that to operate the public toilets, KMC has fixed minimum standards as per the public toilet construction, operation and management standards.
The public toilets should have the facilities of regular cleaning and enough supply of water, jugs and buckets, manage separate hand wash with soap, hooks to hang bags, eclectic light and proper lights and cross ventilation. Each of public toilet building should be gender, disabled and child friendly, has a dustbin, open space for the wheel-chairs and sanitary pads changing and disposal facilities.
The public toilets should be equipped with emergency bells, clear signboards, information boards and fire control equipment, he said.

Published Date: Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 | 07:42 PM

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