Mis­sion hy­giene: Arts stu­dent de­signs pub­lic toi­lets us­ing water bot­tles and waste plas­tic pipes

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - Front Page - Soumya Pil­lai soumya.pil­lai@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: In a city where ac­cess to a safe pub­lic toi­let is a ma­jor safety is­sue, a stu­dent has come up with a cost-ef­fec­tive way of set­ting up pub­lic uri­nals.

Ashwani Ag­gar­wal, 22, the founder of a pub­lic ini­tia­tive called — ba­sic shit, has de­signed a pub­lic uri­nal out of noth­ing but bis­leri cans and a few plas­tic pipes. This uri­nal is work­ing near south Delhi’s Saf­dar­jung hos­pi­tal. Not only cheap, these toi­lets, ac­cord­ing to Ag­gar­wal, can be in­stalled any­where— they can run at­tached to a tree or a pole.

“In my fi­nal year I did a project on san­i­ta­tion prob­lems in the city and af­ter thor­ough re­search I came to the con­clu­sion that many peo­ple uri­nate in pub­lic places be­cause of the lack of hy­gienic pub­lic uri­nals. So, I de­cided to do what­ever I could to solve the prob­lem and came up with a de­sign which is cheap and can be eas­ily main­tained,” said Ag­gar­wal, stu­dent of Col­lege of Arts.

Asked how he man­aged funds for the project, Ag­gar­wal said, “The en­tire project was crowd funded and the lo­cal shop­keep­ers and res­i­dents’ wel­fare as­so­ci­a­tions helped me get re­quired ap­provals.”

He also em­ployed lo­cal slum dwellers, who are paid on a monthly ba­sis, to clean the uri­nal. Sim­i­lar uri­nals would soon be seen at 20 dif­fer­ent spots across Delhi, in­clud­ing at INA mar­ket, South Ex­ten­sion, Saro­jini Na­gar and Dhaula Kuan.

In many places which do not have the space for set­ting up proper uri­nals, Ag­gar­wal plans to at­tach a uri­nal unit to a tree or a wooden pole.

“These are ex­tremely con­ve­nient and well main­tained and more of such uri­nals should be con­structed across the city. Gov­ern­ment should en­cour­age such artists to chan­nelise their cre­ativ­ity in projects like these,” said Raj Chawla, pres­i­dent of INA res­i­dents’ wel­fare as­so­ci­a­tion.

But in what he claims to be his most in­no­va­tive de­sign, Ag­gar­wal has made a model where women can stand and uri­nate. He ex­plained that most women don’t like to use pub­lic toi­lets be­cause they are not main­tained. “Many women I meet com­plain that they do not pre­fer to sit on the com­modes. In my model, they won’t have to worry about sit­ting at all,” he said.

The first model of these women’s uri­nals will come up in Dhaula Kuan by Au­gust and to en­sure se­cu­rity of women the uri­nal will be in­stalled ad­ja­cent to the po­lice sta­tion.

“For women’s uri­nals hy­giene is a ma­jor is­sue. To ad­dress this prob­lem, a layer of water re­sistent liq­uid will be sprayed on the uri­nals which will en­sure that they do not stay wet,” Ag­gar­wal said.


Ashwani Ag­gar­wal, 22 (above) founded the ini­tia­tive af­ter he did his fi­nal project on san­i­ta­tion prob­lems in the city. SUBRATA BISWAS / HT PHOTO

In places which do not have space for set­ting up proper uri­nals, he plans to at­tach a uri­nal unit to a tree or a wooden pole. SUBRATA BISWAS / HT

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