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The city of Chennai has taken a significant stride towards cleanliness by installing portable e-toilets which claim to be “always clean”. As many as 183 toilets equipped with automatic wash mechanisms and GPRS have been installed throughout the metropolitan city – which intends to transform its image of having dirty public toilets, much like most of the Indian cities.
Smart in many ways:
The e-toilets are unmanned and fully automatic with pre-wash and post-wash provisions. After each usage, even the floors of the toilet are washed thoroughly to ensure proper hygiene and stench-free condition. To ensure optimum usage of water, the toilets are programmed to flush 1.5 litres of water after three minutes of usage or 4.5 litres if usage is longer. The facilities are monitored online by an independent agency which tracks the usage, flush counts and water low indication to ensure hygiene remotely.
Being equipped with GPRS, the toilets can be located from anywhere in the city through an app. The same app can also be used to send pictures and lodge complaints to the monitoring agency in case the facility is not clean. Separate e-toilets have been installed for women, ready with napkin vending machines and incinerators to dispose sanitary pads.
The government has spent Rs. 5 lakh on each toilet and Rs. 5,000 will be spent each month on maintenance. It feels this sum is justifiable if even the well-off people also start using the facility. “We want even people who travel by car to stop and use these toilets. That’s the hygiene we are aiming at, “says A. S. Murugan, Executive Engineer [Buildings], Chennai Corporation. The whole project has been in works since Oct 2014 when only 2 e-toilets were installed. By Aug 2015, 72 toilets had become operational in the city. Seven months on, 180 e-toilets in the shape of green-colored tinboxes have dotted the city’s landscape. Eram Scientific Solutions Pvt Ltd has set up the toilets on behalf of Chennai corporation.
Chennai residents are all praise for this commendable initiative. NDTV reports the feedback of some of them. “Earlier toilets used to be dirty, we used to wait for men to clean them. Now they are clean and hygienic always,” said R Malarkodi, a Chennai resident. J Jayamani, another resident said, “We used to hide faces when we entered toilets, now no such embarrassment.”
The Logical Take
Clearly, clean toilets are something not many people in the country are used to. These people can now liberate themselves from the unhealthy practice of open defecation and walking miles just to relieve themselves. This is especially a boon for women. The e-toilets also put an end to the gory practice of manual scavenging. The Logical Indian applauds the wonderful initiative by the Chennai Corporation to provide safe and hygienic sanitation to the public, and urges other city corporations to initiate similar facilities in their areas.