E-toilets: hiding in plain sight

Bangalore BBMP Environment Pollution

People say e-toilets are not easy to locate and access.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) continues to invest in more electronic public toilets   despite the public’s unwillingness to use them.

Nandeesha, executive engineer, BBMP, said, “We are opting for electronic public toilets for the places where we can’t build regular public ones. We are installing 74 more e-washrooms.” Currently, the city has 169 e-washrooms.

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The washrooms aren’t easily noticeable.  The e-toilet app, which was intended to help citizens locate them easily, was launched in 2016, but the app no longer exists on Google Play Store.

Electronic-toilets (e-toilets) are self-contained, self-cleaning, unisex, unmanned, automated, and remotely monitored toilet pods installed in public places.

Ranjitha, a metro commuter, said that the idea of having electronic washrooms is good; however, she hasn’t used or seen one in Bangalore yet.

In January 2021, Janaaghara published a report on public toilets in Bangalore. The report revealed that there is one public toilet for every25000 citizens. According to BBMP’s data, there are around 600 public toilets, while the report says there are only 478 toilets.

“We are building another 20 public toilets, which will be inaugurated soon. These are located in crowded areas of the city,” said Nandeesha.

A report stated that the cost of installing the new electronic washrooms is approximately Rs. 6 crores.

“More regular public washrooms should be built instead of these e-toilets,” said Noel, a resident in Bangalore. “E-toilets haven’t been a great success with the public, and the idea of investing this much amount of money is futile if the outcome which is providing service, is not reached,” he added.

“I have seen that the city has these   e-toilets here and there, which I haven’t noticed anybody using it. I don’t think they are convenient to use, they are like caves, without any proper lights,” said Sandeep Anirudhan, an environmentalist.

He added that more information is required on e-toilets, in terms of how efficient and environmentally friendly these public washrooms are. The BBMP should come up with proper evaluation for them before more toilets are installed.

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