Sunday, April 6, 2008

Here is "one" for Standard of Living

Hyderabad a very "liberal" attitude when it comes to answering natures calls. Almost everyone seems to think "As long as it is out of your body, it doesn't matter where it goes" :).

Aishwarya and I stay in an apartment adjoining a stream of sewage. Right on the main road, is a long compound wall and a relatively well constructed pavement. These are very attractive places for the "Filled-up and the Restless" :) to relieve themselves. There is also a constructed and decently maintained Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation's (GHMC) public toilet. They have strategically constructed such toilets at various locations in Hyderabad close to such places that are used as public toilet. However, the GHMC toilets are clearly not used properly. I think it is because of the one-rupee that is charged for use. Now this is a problem statement. The solution to conceive a way by which the use of this (or any public) toilet can be enforced.
  1. Aish and Shabnam (or anyone who visited hyderabad), do you think the cause the one-rupee charge?
  2. If, so, is that the only cause?
The questions that remain to be answered is
1. Should we take this up as a task?
2. Whether we do or do not, it is probably still worth investing some time for suggestions. Do you have any suggestions?

On my part, since I feel the money is the problem here, we (or the org. concerned) can create a public fund (whatever that means!) of one rupee coins and allow (meaning persuade) "the Filled-up and the Restless" to use money from the fund for the toilet instead. That is the theory. I do understand practical considerations.
  • How to collect the money?
  • How to safe-guard and disburse the money (vending machine?)
  • How to advertise the fund and advertise against the use of compound wall or sewage.
But before all that
  1. Do you have any alternative/better/easier/more sensible ideas?
  2. If not at least do you think that this idea can be modified/improved?
Please try to answer the numbered questions (and not the bulleted ones!). While trying to answer the question, please keep in mind that the idea may have to be implemented at different places in Hyderabad and elsewhere. This may be a farsighted consideration, but I think it is important nevertheless!

I think this is directly related to Standard of Living, though the benefits can not be easily with the naked eye (intangible!)

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

badhri, this definetly has a lot to do with standard of living, nothing to do with children. how does this relate to our objective?

dhaval

Badhri said...

Dhaval,
I had that thought myself. It relates to our objective by way of standard of living. It doesn't really relate to the commonly accepted way "Children".

I don't insist on taking up this project. This post was really a passing thought as I was browsing.

I just wish for us to spend a few seconds reading the post, thinking about the questions and writing down what we think. We can always have it at the back of our mind and come back to it later. However the idea is important.

Jagan said...

Hi,
Whether the toilets constructed are clean enough to USE???

1. Why we have to collect the money first of all?? Can TTR fund it?
2. If we are funding it, then we have to jus give the fund to GHMC.(but, we have to know how many visitors per day/per location)
3. Some points to force the people to use the toilets
a. Arrange some police for few days and fine them
b. Keep the place where they are passing urinals very very clean, so that they dont feel like doin it.
c. As i have told previously, paint the walls with gods/good phrases etc..


Cheers,
Jagan

shabnam said...

Well, good post. This may not be our objective, but through this post we may compel others to think of a solution to eradicate this.

I feel, the areas which are used mostly to defecate or pass urine should be stationed with huge sign-boards in local/hindi/english languages and indicating the severity of the offense. Say a fine of 500 Rs. and then guard a security there. There are 2 things involved here... we providing an employment opportunity in the form of security guard and also maintaining a clean surrounding. If we can build toilets in the vicinity, we can surely build a small checkpost for these guards too. But yes, the question is how many guards and in how many areas...? Well, we need to begin somewhere, if we strictly follow this in a few most-affected areas, the word is spread, and over a period of time...perhaps people would have developed some amount of fear..fear of losing money over this minor thing..!Considering the fact that only that section defecates in open spaces where, earning a handful of money is a challenge.

Fazal said...

I like the post and discussion on such awareness issues. My thoughts on this..
As i guess others have put it, there are following ways to contribute even in a small way on this..

1. Coercion and spreading awareness about things like fine etc.

2. Spreading general awareness about Hygiene, cleanliness, civic sense.

Few of the concrete steps which one can think about is
1. Post sign boards on streets, like posters or sketches etc. This will work for a middle class sort of people to some extent, though based on experience its bit hard to imagine.. But showing some creativity here may help

E.g. If we put up a poster at few places indicating how far is the toilet... So spare this wall ....


2. We can try and talk to some NGO or group which is into this stuff if we plan to take it more forward and get some statistics about the how are the public toilets distribute d in the city and at least post this stuff on the blog so that people coming to the blog also get some more information.

Shashi said...

Hi,

Shabnam, it was a nice post indeed but I subscribe more to dhaval's post that it does not really relate to our objective.

Secondly, i think this is better left off to the govt as they already are working on it.

I remember reading lot of stories on similar lines from GOVT initiatives.

So, here you go :-
1.) Currently I don't have a better idea but still brooding.
2.) I don't think we should indulge ourselves into this one unless the majority feels its worth the time.

I'd rather prefer to focus on working on school's basic facilities on similar lines.

There are many schools where they don't have proper facilities.

Aish said...

Hi Badhri,

Good Thought!

Problem statement: People urinating on the roads.

Cause: Lack of civic sense

Money is not a problem for at least half of the people who use walls as lavatories. Apart from Rickshawallahs and beggars, I have also seen office goers and students commit this crime.

Solution:

1. A concentrated effort by people who think that this is wrong - Government included. People should stop others from doing so. In some cases this may be inviting trouble so discretion should be used. Government should sensitize its own staff about such things.

I mean I see policemen spitting and urinating - what right does he have to stop others.

Well conceived public messages are one way to go.

About this not relating to children - I feel that should not stop us from brainstorming on such topics. Secondly, life is about the balance of gray - not the extremes of black or white. Who know while doing something like this we hit upon ideas for our REAL focus.

Badhri said...

Inputs I have got so far
- signboards, wall paintings of deities
- employ security measures (guards or local police)
- keeping the place clear (some kind of a mini-garden??)

>Whether the toilets constructed are clean enough to USE???

Jagan, Public toilets in Hyderabad are much better maintained for a public toilet. At least they are cleaner than the place they currently use. The walls and sewages stink more! :)

>> 1. Why we have to collect the money first of all?? Can TTR fund it?
>> 2. If we are funding it, then we have to jus give the fund to GHMC.(but, we have to know how many visitors per day/per location)

I don't know if we have to fund it. Assuming that we have enough funds for it, I want to know if my idea is sensible.

Really, doesn't any body feel that they use the public place thinking "why pay a rupee when you can do it for free?" ?

Didn't mean to indicate that this is a project for TTR. I have the post on my other blog too. Just gathering ideas.

Priya Venkatakrishnan said...

i think..it's the laziness to wait and pay one rupee and then use it..

and above all, they dont think its an indecent act.

ofcourse, for some people it's the one rupee that matters..

I agree with fazal's idea

may be, we can stick big posters describing the problem caused because of this act- may some health/ science statistics/ some health problem specifically due to this act..need to see if some environmental people has studied this

Aish said...

My experience from my bus trip from Mumbai to Hyderabad last night.

1. The bus stopped at a place for dinner. I was just loafing around. This kid who was traveling with his dad, drank a Frooti or something that comes in a small carton. Once finished he casually threw the carton on the ground. I looked around and saw the dust bin just in front. I "gathered courage" and told him gently - "Dude there is a dust bin there, so may you could throw it in the dust bin", He picked it up and complied.

2. En route, the bus used to stop at deserted parts of the highway and the conductor used to ask us to get down and relieve ourselves. To be honest, even I did so. So what are the alternatives to this?

The first point supports Priya's opinion that many times they do not even think that it is an indecent thing to do.

The second one is a question from my side.

Badhri said...

Of course, they don't think its an indecent act. That is why they have it as an alternative.

Please note that I am talking about the context where they have a public toilet in full view and yet choose to urinate outside.

They have an alternative where they don't have to pay and I think they tell themselves "why pay the extra money though I can afford it?"

I think while your example supports Priya's point, it doesn't really oppose my belief that there is a money factor involved in all cases who urinate near a public toilet.

Somehow, I am not able to catch a single guy on the act nowadays next to the public toilet so I can test my theory :( Murphy's law!

As of (2) well no toilet, full bladder, pitch darkness, what else can you do? If I were you, I would choose a tree. At least it helps the tree :)

ranjit nair said...

Ah Well, at last a civic sense improvement that targets solely the Male gender :)

I am not sure I agree with Badhri on ppl not using public toilets for the sake of saving money.

I remember my days of Engineering in Munnar (a nice hill station). We used to walk downhill from college everyday and barring a few instances of acute emergency, we always used the public toilet downhill.And better, there always used to be a small Queue to use it !

I can't fully analyse why it was so, but I think one factor was that the local population was very much pro-conservation.The panchayat used to drive home lots of messages on cleanliness , had banned plastic wrappers and the like.

Then again,the place was small and crowded (the town area).
I actually can't see why we shouldn't do the act in fully deserted places (the bus example by Aish). Nature takes care of the cleaning mechanism I believe in such places.
Having said that, it's important that Drivers in long routes identify places with such public utilities on the route and make them a declared stopever on their routes. Most of the bigger petrol pumps have good urinals nowadays.Or may be some place where they stop for food breaks.

Don't agree with putting pictures of Deities and the like, they simply don't target the root cause of the problem.
Cleanliness can be a great de-motivator for the act. But then the Indian male will someway find out the deserted corner over the gully.

Dhaval Patel said...

i have been thinking abt this for a while. and then i thought abt the pitch black darkness and full bladder moments i have had in india. and then i thought abt why i havent had the same in u.s.a. the first answer that came to mind was the fear of getting caught and having to pay fine for relieving oneself in public. and perhaps a smaller component of that is the idea in the back of my head that in u.s.a you have to be more disciplined because that is how everyone else acts in u.s.a ie they dont relieve themselves in public. so is there anyway we can implement the same sense in the public psyche in India. for one, i definetly think 'uncorrupted' police fining ppl will work and the second would require a mass campaign of instilling civic sense in the psyche of common man. and that second suggestion has to strictly enforced by first suggestion ie fine ppl for relieving themselves in public.

ranjit nair said...

Nice point Dhaval.
Theres one point that you missed out though.
In US when a guy is out of his home, he has his car with him. And it would take him just a matter of minutes before he can drive over to the nearest loo or get back home.If on highway, they do stop over at exits to refresh.

But that's not the case in India, we have a huge working population that is on the move everyday, mostly on public transport, or slow moving vehicles. There is nothing much one can do literally if one is in an acute emergency :)