Mumbai: Public toilets a threat to user’s safety said Observer Research Foundation

Mumbai: The poor conditions of public toilets have led to the death of seven people in the last two years. These seven people were victims of lack of maintenance of the toilets and died as the cement slabs of these toilets collapsed and the septic tanks exploded.

On Friday, three people died in a public toilet at Indira Nagar in Mankhurd by drowning in human faeces as the toilet slab collapsed. The locals rescued five other people who drowned due to this incident. While in 2016, three children lost their lives by drowning in open septic tanks of public toilets.

Observer Research Foundation Mumbai, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), along with social activists has conducted a survey of the condition of toilets across the city. The NGO has demanded the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the state government to construct individual toilets in slum areas.

Dhaval Desai, vice chairman of the foundation, said, “The officials should visit the toilets and see the state of the facilities at the ground level. More than 78 percent of the slum toilets do not have water connection while 58 percent are without electricity. The toilets in the slum areas are in dilapidated condition which leads to a collapse of slabs and blast of septic tanks due to excessive collection of human waste and poor sewerage system. Individual toilets will help solve the problems as the population is large in such areas.”

The BMC has a provision of 10,381 public toilet facilities for a population of around 13 million out of which 3,181 toilet seats are for women. Activists and residents have claimed that the lack of maintenance of these toilets have led to sanitation problems. Residents of Mankhurd and Goregaon said, “We have been repeatedly approaching the authorities complaining about the state of various toilets but there is no response unless there is an untoward incident.”

Vijay Balamwar, deputy municipal commissioner of solid waste management, told the Free Press Journal, “We have implemented the concept of individual toilets for slum dwellings and have constructed 1000 toilets in various slum households across the city. A sum of Rs 7000 is give for every slum household for this project. As far as the poor condition of the public toilets is concerned, we will improve the conditions and ensure that basic facilities of water and electricity are provided.”

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