Introduction: Every day a large number of people move to Dhaka city. They have to stay outside for a long time. They face severe toilet problem but they have nothing to do. Because, public toilet is limited in number against the vast need. As a result, floating people urinate and defecate in the open place or at road side. To consider the floating people’s need, DSK decided to promote ‘Mobile Toilet’. Mobile Toilet is a specialized manually driven rickshaw with toilet facilities. One driver does peddle the Rikshaw to different spots. DSK designed and manufactured the mobile toilet as part of its activity inside the water and sanitation project supported by water 1st International. This is a pilot to understand the need and use pattern by the commoners. DSK is trying to facilitate different toilet options and DSK has a future plan to increase the number of mobile toilet.
Background: “Nagar Seba” is a local NGO. It has been working on the issues of water and sanitation in Dhaka city. One year back “Nagar Seba” having permission from DCC promoted functioning of a mobile toilet in Dhaka. Basically DSK got the idea about mobile toilet from Nagar Seba. In connection with this, a sharing meeting was organized between “Nagar Seba” and DSK regarding operating mobile toilet. The decision came up through the meeting that “Nagar Seba” would provide the toilet to DSK for running the toilet in Dhaka city. In this connection a contract has been signed between “Nagar Seba” and DSK. DSK also constructed a mobile toilet through its own initiative. Now DSK is running two mobile toilets in Dhaka city.
Legality: Approval has been taken from Dhaka City Corporation to run the mobile toilet in Mirpur, Bongobondhu Avenue-Paltan area, Gulistan, Phoenix Road, Manik Mia Avenue and Dhanmondi Lake area. Movement of mobile toilet depends on demand for use.
Service Providing Place: At present two mobile toilets are providing services in the streets of Dhaka city. One mobile toilet has started its journey from December 7, 2010 and another from March 15, 2011. The first toilet was kept in different locations in Dhaka city such as near Sony cinema hall at Mirpur-1, Bengal bus stand at Mirpur -2, Technical area of Mirpur -1, near the over bridge at Mirpur-1, Mirpur-10 and Gabtoli. Most of the time, it was kept in Mirpur-1. It moves to different places to identify in which location community people’s demand is high for such service. The user fee of mobile toilet has been set at taka 2 for urination and taka 5 for defecation.
At present one mobile toilet has been placed at Technical area in Mirpur and another one at Gabtoli in Dhaka.
Advantage of Mobile Toilet:
1) People coming to Dhaka, street people, passerby can meet their toilet needs easily.
2) If a person does not urinate for a long, it may cause abdominal pain, Kidney problem etc. Mobile toilet is a preventive measure to keep such vulnerabilities reduced.
3) Now urinating and defecating in the open or roadside shall be decreasing in the service providing area. It shall be able to maintain clean environment.
4) People can wash hand by soap and water after using toilet. So, hygiene is also ensured in the mobile toilet.
5) Anybody can use it.
Manufacturing of Mobile Toilet:Mobile Toilet has been mounted on three wheels. Two motorcycle’s wheels and one rickshaw’s wheel are used to adjust the structure of the toilet. The toilet’s body is constructed by iron. Its safety tank is plastic made (Gazi brand). Urine and stool are stored in the safety tank. The fence of toilet is made by steel. The roof is made by transparent plastic sheet. Plastic made pan is used in the toilet. The stair case of the toilet is made of iron. The stair case is used to enter into the toilet. These two toilets are made by Dhaka based engineering workshop name ‘Punam Engineering workshop’. The design of the two toilets is same.
Construction Cost of Public Toilet:First mobile toilet (which is running from 7 December, 2010) manufacturing cost was Taka 1 lakh 18 thousand (USD 1685.0). It is made under the supervision of DSK. Second one’s (which is running from 15 March, 2011) cost was Taka 86 thousand/ USD 1228. It was made under the supervision of “Nagar Seba”. It was manufactured one year back.
Running System of Mobile Toilet:These toilets work six days a week (except Friday) from 8 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Some times it starts at 7.00 a.m.
A garage has been rented for keeping two mobile toilets. The garage is situated near the DSK’s project office at Mirpur. Every day drivers take the toilet from garage in the morning. They wash these in the morning and take way to the service point.
Mobile Toilet Users: Everyday 150-200 persons come to a mobile toilet for urination and defecation. The users are rickshaw pullers, van pullers, service holders and other persons who come from long distance. Service holder and rickshaw pullers use the toilet frequently. The street children visit the toilet who sells water bottle, newspaper etc. Sometimes school children use the toilet. It has been observed that women are infrequent users. They feel shy to use this, they just use in case of acute emergency.
Floating people are expressing their satisfaction about this toilet service.
Muhammadullah (33) stays at Kazipara in Mirpur-10 in Dhaka. He is a disable person. He said, “It is a great initiative. I have come to Technical bus stand to receive my younger brother. I had used the mobile toilet on an urgent basis which was parked there. Otherwise, I would have used the road side for urination”. He said Mobile Toilet should have been in all locations of Dhaka so that people do not urinate and defecate in the open.
Hygiene Situation of Mobile Toilet: There is a drum of water, soap and towel inside the toilet. Everyday when the drivers start towards service point they fill the drum with water. They take water from DSK’s project office in Mirpur. People use this water for washing after using the toilet. A mini water pot is inside to use for washing purposes. After toilet people can wash hand with soap. Some times water is fully used. In those circumstances they fill water as early as possible from nearby places.
The drivers clean the toilets everyday. There is a gate valve connected with safety tank of mobile toilet. When the valve is open, the fecal sludge is flush out into the sewerage line through the opening of manhole cover in a systematic way. The drivers return from service point in the afternoon. At that time they empty safety tank’s sludge in the manhole everyday. They put the sludge in the manhole in different location as it deems convenient to them.
Expenditure of Mobile Toilet:The mobile toilet has some expenditure. Mobile toilet driver’s monthly salary is Taka 5500. So the two driver’s salary is taka 11000. Their salary has been covered from the project budget. The income of the mobile toilet is kept reserved in project account. Monthly garage rent is Taka 1000. Soap, toilet tissue, toilet cleaner, air freshener etc. have been kept in the toilet. To purchase these materials, Taka 350 is spent on a quarterly basis for a toilet. Monthly Taka 40/50 has to be spent for water if required from outside.
Managing the Mobile Toilet:Two staff of DSK is assigned for two toilets. Everyday they visit mobile toilets at the afternoon; they stay about an hour to observe the toilet service. They are there to support solutions related to operation and maintenance of mobile toilets. In order to keep track of accounts two separate exercise books are maintained.
Renting Service of Mobile Toilet:Mobile toilet is being used on rental basis also. Few of the organizations rented the mobile toilet. Mobile toilet service has been provided to other social programmes that have been described below:
• PSTC (NGO) organized two days programme with street children to observe Victory day. The programme was held at Kisholoy School in Mohammedpur on 13 and 15 December, 2010. One mobile toilet was rented by PSTC for two days.
• On 30 January, 2011 BRAC organized a conference of Farmers at Army stadium. Mobile toilet was rented by BRAC at that day.
• Water Aid Bangladesh organized a programme at Shahbag in Dhaka on 7 April, 2011. They rented the mobile toilet for that day.
• Mobile Toilet did provide service at Bisso Iztema in February, 2011. Three days it was kept at Bisso Iztema in Tongi.
• Mobile toilet did provide service on 1 Baishakh (Bengali New Year, 14 April, 2011), at Ramna in Dhaka. About two thousand people- audience, performers, organizer including police used the toilet. All users appreciated the service of mobile toilet.
Conclusion:Mobile toilet is a pilot innovative idea in Dhaka. It is meeting the urgent toilet need of floating people, street people, passerby and helps in keeping the environment clean. It is necessary to promote system of mobile toilet. It would be better if large number of toilet would run through different organizations. City Corporation should engage with this initiative to promote the toilet in different locations of Dhaka city. City Corporation can also initiate the authorization procedure thus individuals/organizations can run the mobile toilet.
For more: Please contact DSK
DSK Mobile toilet team is available in Dhaka to provide service on pay and use basis. Any organization can rent the mobile toilet from DSK.