Public Bathrooms: The Missing Piece in the Development Puzzle.

2 Mons Ago
Public Bathrooms: The Missing Piece in the Development Puzzle.

By: Staff contributor.

As I woke up and gazed out of my window, I couldn't help but notice the contrasting scenes that unfolded before my eyes. Just below my humble abode, there lay an empty plot of land, waiting to be occupied, while adjacent to it, construction workers diligently worked on erecting new houses. In close proximity, there was an open space designated for dumpsters, serving as a reminder of the everyday waste we generate. Amidst this somewhat unsightly view, a swamp with its dark, murky waters added an eerie touch. However, to my surprise, the area was adorned with the presence of birds, as if nature was trying to conceal the unattractiveness of the surroundings. Let’s not forget the relentless mosquitoes that plagued my family, leaving my children with itchy bites each night. On the flip side, if I were to cast my gaze towards the other side of my house, up the main road, a completely different story unfolded. There, I was greeted by the sight of beautiful homes, impressive buildings, and bustling business facilities. It was a stark contrast to the scene just outside my window, and it reminded me of the stark disparities that exist in our world.

As I glanced around, I noticed a man seated nearby, dressed in a crisp white shirt. The area was relatively empty, with only a handful of people scattered about, standing at a distance from one another. However, this man seemed to be an exception, as he sat there, seemingly engrossed in his own world. To my surprise, I observed him reaching into his pocket, retrieving something that caught my attention. It was difficult to believe what my eyes were witnessing. Once again, he delved into his pocket, this time pulling out a tissue paper or perhaps just a piece of paper, which he used to wipe himself. It was quite shocking to realize that he was, in fact, defecating right there. After discreetly finishing his business, he rose from his seat, as if he had just privately used a bathroom. Nonchalantly, he pulled up his pants and proceeded to take out his phone. I couldn't help but feel startled by this sequence of events. Not only did he neglect to wash his hands, given the circumstances, but he also reached for his phone with the same unwashed hands. I couldn't help but wonder how he would greet his friends or anyone he encountered later in the day, considering the unhygienic state of his hands. And to top it off, he would spend the entire day scrolling on that very same phone.

To make matters worse, another man decided to mimic the first guy's behavior, nonchalantly relieving himself in the same manner. He then strolled over to a man standing just a few feet away. It's hard to say for sure, but it seemed like the second man was keeping a watchful eye on the first while he attended to his business. Eventually, the two men made their way towards the nearest construction site, possibly indicating that they were either daily laborers or handymen. Let's just hope they weren't plumbers.  As if the situation wasn't already disconcerting enough, a third man decided to join in on the public bathroom extravaganza, choosing a spot not too far from the first two. Now, I can't help but question the quality of the water that flows into my house. Despite the fact that it travels through pipes and undergoes treatment, there's still a lingering concern about potential contamination. On other occasions, I have witnessed children resorting to defecating on the streets due to the lack of nearby facilities. However, these men likely have access to proper toilets in their homes. I can't fathom what compelled them to use the outdoors instead, but this issue ultimately stems from the scarcity of public restrooms and a lack of awareness regarding their availability.

 In the race for progress, many countries, especially those that are still developing, tend to focus on building impressive structures like towering skyscrapers, extensive highways, and extravagant civic centers. While these projects capture attention and represent advancement, there is a crucial aspect of infrastructure that often goes unnoticed: public sanitation. Investing in accessible and well-maintained public restrooms has the potential to significantly improve lives, health, and ultimately, the development trajectory of these nations. The lack of adequate sanitation facilities in developing countries presents a silent crisis with far-reaching consequences. Billions of people worldwide lack access to basic sanitation, and the majority of them reside in developing nations. This translates to millions resorting to open defecation, exposing themselves and their communities to numerous health risks. Contaminated water and fecal matter contaminate the environment, leading to the spread of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid. These illnesses disproportionately affect children, hindering their educational opportunities and overall well-being. Additionally, women and girls face additional vulnerabilities as they are often compelled to wait until nightfall to find privacy for defecation, compromising their safety and security.

The government's attempts to enhance the city's appearance will prove to be ineffective in the face of such actions. In my perspective, true beauty in a city lies not only in its aesthetics, but in the convenience of living it offers to its residents. A truly beautiful city is one where people can live in peace and harmony, where the market is regulated and the cost of living is not so exorbitant that basic necessities become unaffordable. For me, a beautiful city is a place where everyone has a home, regardless of its size, and where you don't witness people sleeping or defecating on the streets. It is a city where resources and opportunities are available to all residents, regardless of their ethnicity. In such an environment, people would thrive and feel compelled to take care of their communities, as they would consider them their safe havens. It is crucial that our city and its outskirts are equipped with an abundance of public toilets. Even though there may be instances where individuals choose to relieve themselves on the streets despite the presence of nearby restrooms, having accessible public bathrooms and mobile facilities would undoubtedly alleviate the problem. Unfortunately, many people find themselves resorting to public spaces due to the absence of a better alternative. By addressing this issue and providing ample restroom options, we can work towards creating a more hygienic and dignified environment for everyone.

While grand infrastructure projects may hold symbolic significance, it is crucial to recognize the unsung heroes that have the potential to transform lives and communities; public bathrooms. By prioritizing investments in sanitation, our country can embark on a path towards a healthier and ultimately more prosperous society. These seemingly small facilities can have a profound impact on the well-being and dignity of individuals, contributing to the overall improvement of the city. It is time to shift our focus and acknowledge the importance of these essential amenities in creating a truly beautiful and livable city for all.