Lack of toilets pushes people to poop, pee in public spaces in TaulihawaBusy spaces like Nayatol, Gaudhichowk, Chowk Bazaar, Bhikshu Chowk, Prasashan Karayala Chowk and Jamuwar Chowk do not have public toilets.
On Saturday morning, Raju Pandey, of Pakarbhitwa in Yashodhara Rural Municipality, stepped out of a passenger bus at Taulihawa Bus Park and looked around for a public toilet. He had travelled to Taulihawa from Kathmandu.
But Pandey did not find any toilet near the bus park area. “As I did not have any other alternative, I was compelled to relieve myself in the open area,” said Pandey.
Like Pandey, Nandalal Yadav of Mayadevi Rural Municipality, who arrived in Taulihawa, the district headquarters of Kapilvastu, to transfer land titles in the District Land Revenue Office, also searched for a public toilet upon arriving in the area. “I struggled to find a toilet for 30 minutes, then I relieved myself at the paddy field nearby Nepali Congress Party Office. I relieved myself in the open because there were no other options left,” said Yadav.
For a lack of public toilets, service seekers like Yadav, who arrive in the district headquarters for administrative works, along with other visitors and tourists, face a tough time when they have to answer a pressing call of nature.
Busy spaces like Nayatol, Gaudhichowk, Chowk Bazaar, Bhikshu Chowk, Prasashan Karayala Chowk and Jamuwar Chowk do not have public toilets. And, according to locals, people peeing on roadsides is a common sight in these areas.
But even in areas that do have public toilets, few people use them, for they are too dirty to use. For instance, Kapilvastu Municipality had constructed four public toilets at Land Revenue Office, Mahendra Park, Bus Park and Haat bazaar area a few years ago, but all of those toilets have left unused for a long time.
“Shouldn’t the municipal office be responsible to maintain basic cleanliness of the public toilet? How can we use such dirty toilets?” asked Chadra Yadav, a local woman of Yashodhara Rural Municipality. Chandra had arrived in Taulihawa to obtain her citizenship certificate from the District Administration Office on Friday. Chandra said, “The dirty public toilets have not only affected public health but also contributed to environmental pollution. None of these public toilets is disabled-friendly as well.”
A security officer from the District Police Office said that government officials too face problems because of this while on duty. “As we are in uniform, we have to stay double alert when we urinate in the open,” he said, adding that the urge to answer nature’s call becomes unbearable and there is no restroom facility in Taulihawa.
Ram Bhajan Kalawar, ward chairman of Kapilvastu Municipality Ward No. 2, admitted that people are seen relieving themselves anywhere (against a wall, a tree, a corner, or open area) due to lack of a public toilet. Kalawar said, “This has dirtied the bazaar area. The local unit should take initiatives to construct toilets in Taulihawa immediately.”
To tackle the issue, Kiran Singh, mayor of the municipality, said that they have a plan to provide basic sanitation facilities to locals and service seekers in the area. “The problem has arisen as the public toilets have been unused for a long time due to lack of sanitation. But another problem is that no one—not organisations nor individuals—is willing to take care of public property,” said Singh, adding that the local unit will pay attention to improve sanitation in Taulihawa soon.