When I was in middle school, I sometimes used to skip breakfast just to avoid the nightmare of using the bathroom in the course of my 1.5-mile trek to school. I don’t know whether you’ve ever tried to hold your bladder while quickening your pace through a maze of traffic, at the same time praying that your dreaded instructor hasn’t yet arrived in class. Well, for those of you who have never been to South Jamaica, Queens, New York may be tempted to think that I was a bit picky. But then again you probably never had to squat over a smelly cistern whilst clinging for dear life on two equally rusty, iron bars in a damp cubicle reeking of a rancid mixture of fecal matter and throw up forgive my clarity).
Sadly, however, that’s the sad state of a majority of public toilets. In fact, I was even lucky there was one in the vicinity of my neighborhood. Many years later, and although there’s a slight improvement in the management of public amenities, the condition of toilet facilities in most cities today are a far cry from world-class standards.
Nonetheless, it’s high time private citizens and business persons joined hands with the local government in the provision of better public bathrooms. And here are some of the main reasons this has to be done urgently.
1) Remodeling or building hygienic public toilets is one of the best ways of revitalizing downtown neighborhoods.
It is easy to overlook the role that proper bathrooms play in day-to-day business operations. Just like I earlier avoided visiting the poorly maintained toilets, similarly, prospective clients could be keeping off your premises due to the lack of sound bathrooms in your business locale. The same way you first take a peek at the restroom before booking a hotel room, clients are bound to associate the state of your vicinity’s public toilets with your business.
2) Hygienic public toilets are one of the vital requirements of a healthy population.
Make the mistake of using an unhygienic bathroom or sitting or a soiled public toilet seat and you have a multitude of skin complications and STDs to deal with. Did you know that 2 out of 3 Americans flush public toilets using their feet? Imagine what diseases you can catch…It goes without saying that public toilets are the second most visited places after religious buildings. A healthy population starts with proper bathroom amenities.
3) It’s a fundamental human right.
I can’t even begin to imagine the number of school-going children in some of the most impoverished places on earth who dread the prospect of having to relieve themselves in public latrines due to the vile condition of these facilities. These children and other minority groups are denied every day an essential and basic human right which they are entitled to. Building more toilets and renovating the present ones is one of the many ways of improving the quality of life of such people.
4) Provision of public toilets is a way of promoting social inclusion and equality.
You might be an A-list billionaire or a pauper on the streets, but at the end of the day you’ll still need to use a bathroom. Installing top-notch toilet facilities for public use is a subtle way of promoting equality and social inclusion of the some of the disadvantaged members of the society.
5) It is an issue of privacy and basic human decency.
From expectant mothers to disabled persons, public toilets are a place where we all converge to answer nature’s most primal call. It’s only human to require some privacy during such ‘trying’ and ‘struggling’ moments. If these facilities are lacking in a given population, then it implies that there’s a wide gap in the lifestyle of the people in such a locality.