Indian city pays residents to use public toilets

Published 09.06.2015 13:24
Updated 09.06.2015 16:49
Indian men urinate on a wall at the roadside in New Delhi, the eve of World Toilet Day (AFP Photo)
Indian men urinate on a wall at the roadside in New Delhi, the eve of World Toilet Day (AFP Photo)

In western India, a city council is planning to pay residents to use public toilets to stop legions of people urinating and defecating in public, causing grave health concerns.

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has decided to instruct officers to give residents one rupee per to draw them into its 300 public toilets and away from open areas and public walls.

AMC health officer Bhavikk Joshi said the offer would be trialed at 67 public facilities across Ahmedabad, the main city in western Gujarat state.

"Once successful, the project will be implemented in all the 300 public toilets in Ahmedabad," Joshi told AFP on Monday.

The move is the Indian government's latest effort to motivate people to use toilets after announcing a cleanliness drive last year, spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Many people in India consider toilets unsanitary and prefer to squat in the open, believing defecating far from home as the more hygienic practice.

AMC standing committee chairman Pravin Patel said repeat offenders would be "identified and encouraged" to use the coin-paying toilets.

"The idea behind this project is to prevent open defecation in parts of the city where people, despite having public toilets, defecate in the open," Patel told AFP.

India's government last year announced a scheme to check whether people who were given toilets as part of its cleanliness drive were actually using them, by getting sanitary inspectors to go door-to-door.

UNICEF estimates that almost 594 million people -- or nearly half of India's population -- defecate in the open, with the situation worst in dirt-poor rural areas.

Lack of toilets and other sanitation problems cause huge health problems in India by causing illnesses such as diarrhea.

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