Kathmandu, June 17
Keeping in mind the increasing problems people are facing in Kathmandu valley due to lack of sufficient number of public toilets, stakeholders have suggested that local governments enforce the existing laws or make necessary laws (if required) to allow people to use toilets at petrol pumps, religious sites, government offices and government-run business complexes.
Stakeholders suggested this at an interaction ‘Procedures on Operation and Management of Public Toilet’ organised by Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Guthi, a non-governmental organisation, that works in the field of sanitation.
According to a report prepared by the organisation, there are altogether 62 public toilets in the valley. Each toilet on average serves 300 persons each day, while some of the toilets in busy areas such as Pashupati area and Ratnapark serve around 1,000 people a day.
Stakeholders further said the number of public toilets could be doubled instantly, if all the toilets of petrol pumps were opened for public use.
There must be at least one public toilet on the premises of a petrol pump for customers. Many petrol pumps in Kathmandu have toilets, but they are not open to the public. Most of the toilets built on the premises of petrol pumps remain locked and some toilets are in sorry condition. Most of them lack even water facility.
Moreover, petrol pump owners have built toilets in such way that they do not easily come to people’s notice. A large number of people even do not know that toilets built at petrol pumps are for public use.
According to Nepal Oil Corporation, there are 123 petrol pumps in Kathmandu, 29 in Lalitpur and 20 in Bhaktapur.
Chair of Guthi Prakash Amatya said instead of constructing smart toilets, local governments should think of making best use of the existing toilets. “It is high time the local governments took the initiative to bring the toilets built on the premises of government offices, public parks and religious sites to public use,” he said, adding it would solve the problems caused by lack of public toilets to a large extent.
The report made public by Guthi states there are 34 public toilets on the premises of religious sites inside the valley. Similarly, there are eight public toilets on the premises of public parks.
The report also states a total of 17 toilets built on the premises of public hospitals inside the valley can be used as public toilets. Stakeholders also said no individual should be barred from using toilets of government offices.
Vice-chair of City Planning Commission of KMC Saroj Basnet said the local bodies were working on a plan to solve the issue.
A version of this article appears in print on June 18, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.