Dear Toilets, till when will you be ‘Out of Order’?
“Be the change you wish to see.”
“We are the change that we seek.” But is there really a ‘change’ anywhere?
A healthy person uses the washroom 4-6 times in a day. Women on the other hand, use the washroom much more, especially during their menstrual cycle.
From everyday life to periods, to birthing children; there are reasons why women need clean toilets.
Having a clean loo is the clear difference between disgust and dignity, health and disease.
Think of all the women outside the house – with the lack of clean and sanitized toilets, most of them abstain from using it and in some cases, even control their urge to use the facilities for as long as 6-8 hours. The usage of such toilets as well as the abstinence leads to many chronic medical implications.
Studies have revealed that a majority of women have faced increased discomfort due to them controlling the urge to relieve themselves.
Women all over the country have become habitual to entering washrooms and returning back, without using them! ‘I will use it once we get back home..’ is perhaps the most used sentence in the women’s restrooms.
We went around Delhi-NCR trying to record an unfiltered opinion on what they feel about toilets in the city.
Nitika Mehra, working as a copywriter in Gurgaon says, “Use the office washroom? Not until it is really necessary. We, as women are generally very hygiene conscious and keep their areas pretty clean. But a toilet being cleaned twice a day does not mean it is hygienic! We’ve mastered the art of trying a number of postures in the toilet so as to maintain minimum contact!” Clean is not necessarily sanitized. Globally, public toilets have a facility to sanitize the toilet seat to make it free from threats that are not visible to the eye.
Pratyasha Das, with whom we caught up at a mall in Delhi says, “Toilets literally are the bare necessities of a human. As a girl, I have been brought up with the idea by my mother to use the washroom before I leave the house. Why? Because since generations we know that finding a clean toilet is next to impossible anywhere!” There are many who believe that denying the right to a clean toilet is denying basic human rights.
Jiya Walia, an HR consultant in Delhi felt, “The whole journey of using a public toilet is actually a task! Anything that you touch in the toilet has germs and that is a truth we all know. But due to the lack of basic sanitization, it gets worse. So from the basin faucets to the door handles to the actual toilet seat, everything is potentially dangerous to have contact with.’
This proves the point that having a cleaning schedule of the washroom, if any, is not enough. There needs to be a proper sanitization of the toilets to mark it fit to use.
But what is staggering is the number of women who said that the basic reason of not using public toilets was that at some point in their lives, even a single instance of having used an unclean toilet had led to intra vaginal infections, irritation, and frequent cases of UTI.
We need to ask ourselves where are we heading to? In a country where people are still fighting for the right to have toilets so that they could avoid relieving themselves out in the open, there is a subsequent battle for finding a way to actually use those where they are actually present.
Let us join hands to make sure so that nobody ever needs to ask a question to themselves, that to – ”To pee or not to pee!”