Yes, you read that right. The organisation Agasti is constructing eco friendly, women only restrooms in the district of Thane in Mumbai. Their pilot project was constructed in May, and started operating in the month of July this year. Founder and CEO of Agasti, Sahej Mantri says, “Currently we are planning on building 14 more Restrooms in Thane city. We are planning to crowd source the locations to enable citizen participation and optimum use of government resources.”
A great initiative taken up by this organisation could be the solution to women’s public toilet concerns. Sahej tells us, “Women do not use public toilets that are available because they are poorly maintained. We maintain our toilets ourself using trained staff and modern equipments. We have also designed our toilets in way that it is easy for us to maintain and manage them.” He has also posted a blog for people to know about how they maintain their restrooms.
Public toilets are a definite no no for women because of hygiene issues, as many complain of getting UTI (Urinary Tract Infection), which if caught once becomes a recurring infection. The bathroom constructed in Thane currently has Bio-digesters installed that release microbes that break down waste without using external energy.
Sahej says the response since the restrooms became operational has been lukewarm so far, as people need more time to become accustomed to the design and idea. He adds, “But it was expected as the design and concept of the restroom is relatively new. Almost alien for the common man (in this case woman)”. He is happy to tell us that, “we do have a bunch of regulars who visit the restroom to sit and chat in the evenings. It has just been 2 months since the restroom has got commissioned and we believe the usage is going to pick up soon.”
With the Clean India campaign underway, the government should definitely put in funding when the citizens themselves are coming up with solutions to make the city a hygienic place. ”There are no funds allotted by the government for public toilet. The current policy (Swachh Bharat Mission – Clean India Mission) prioritises providing individual household toilets and ending open defecation”, says Sahej.
All we can say is, keep the effort going! A Clean India is definitely a dream for all.