The new public toilet scheme comes under the Shubhra Bengaluru Scheme, a multi-crore project to focus on beautification and sanitation.

BBMP Public Restroom made out of red tilesBBMP
news Sanitation Saturday, January 09, 2021 - 15:11

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is installing new public toilets across the city to tackle the issue of public urination under the Shubhra Bengaluru Scheme, which was digitally launched on December 8. This will be a part of the annual budget of the BBMP, keeping their focus on improving amenities of sanitation across the city.

The Shubhra Bengaluru Scheme is a multi-crore project initiated by the civic body that will focus on sanitation and beautification of the city, said the BBMP Commissioner of Solid Waste Management, Randeep D. The BBMP authorities are also formulating an operational manual for the toilet system and maintenance.

NGO Janaagraha, which runs a campaign against public urination called Yellow Spots Beda, is assisting the BBMP in identifying and locating areas where toilets are needed and public urination is rampant. The authorities will collect suggestions, complaints and other information from the citizens until January 10 to come up with where the toilets should be installed and how many. They will also focus on maintenance of the toilets that will be built or already have been.

“The BBMP can identify the spots [where public urination is rampant] with the help of citizens and install toilets there. We have set up a portal where citizens can notify and we have gotten a good response so far,” said Srinivas Alavalli of Janaagraha, speaking about the ‘My City, My Budget’ initiative, their collaborative effort with BBMP.  The citizens can leave their addresses at the online portal.

Another NGO ReapBenefit has further extended a helping hand by creating a chatbot on WhatsApp, through which people can report their problems as well. “We wanted to reach out to more people and there is no better platform than WhatsApp to do so,” said Sapna, a member of Janaagraha. “This is not the first time ReapBenefit has helped in public campaigns,” she added.

The firm has been experimenting with the creation of chatbots to reach out to a large number of people, especially young adults.

Elaborating on how the chatbot can be used, Sapna said, “One has to send a WhatsApp message 'report' to 8095500118. It will further present you with multiple options. The complainant will just have to follow the instructions or they could use the link and do the same.”

Srinivas Alavalli said, “30 other citizens’ organizations like Whitefield Rising, Bellandur Jothege, ChangeMakers of Kanakpura have been actively helping us in this initiative.”

The authorities will continue to collect suggestions, complaints and other information from the citizens until January 10.

The toilets will be first constructed in areas worst affected by public urination; additional toilets will be built according to the needs of the people. They can be geolocated with the help of Google maps; people could type in ‘SBM toilets’ and be directed to the nearest one. Signboards showing directions and distance to the nearest toilet will also be installed.

Praising the efforts being made by the BBMP, Alavalli further said that Bengaluru has a shortage of sanitation facilities like toilets. “We (at present) have 500 toilets across the city, we need at least 2,000-3,000 more. Nearly 60 wards in the city have zero toilets,” he added, saying that the city needs to provide infrastructure to the villages that were recently included in city limits as well.

“There needs to be a behavioural change and we are hoping to spread awareness among people. We are trying to make it a mass movement,” said Alavalli.

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