Showing posts with label World Toilet Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World Toilet Day. Show all posts

15 November 2016

#MyWorkplaceToilet- Do you have access to clean toilet at work?


Lately we have been talking a lot about the horrific condition of our public toilets, now lets talk about toilets in our workplaces. Let me begin with mine; Bhutan Toilet Org office share one unit toilet with our neighbouring office. Five men and two ladies use it. It has running water, working flush, toilet paper, waste bin. What we don't have is stain on tiles, bad smell and wet floor. Oh yes, we don't have wash basin (-1 point). In short our toilet is like the ones you find in three star hotels. Thank you.


How do you manage to keep a three star hotel like toilet in a warehouse like office? Well, thanks to our landlord for building a good structure. They didn't build the toilet as an afterthought. And thanks to us for being the first tenant because good toilet needs good users from the beginning. Maintaining broken toilet is a difficult job. As for daily cleanliness we have the following toilet cleaning roster;

  1. Monday: Jigme Nidup Gyeltshen, Program Assistant
  2. Tuesday: Tshering Nidup, Program Officer
  3. Wednesday: Dorji Phuntsho, Finanace Officer 
  4. Thursday: Passang Tshering, Executive Director 
  5. Friday: Che Dorji, Communication Officer 
  6. Toilet Paper In-charge: Tshering Choden, Executive Secretary, Rotary Club of Thimphu
Actually it's that simple. Now, is it the same in other workplaces? Well, you see most offices have good toilet in the boss's chamber, and the boss doesn't even know where the employees' toilet is. He can only smell it, but his nose is mostly running. Employees blame the cleaner and the cleaner feels people are overreacting. This is the story of most government offices.

Think about the hundreds of construction workers and the mechanics in automobile workshops, do they have access to clean toilets? Even a sorry excuse of a toilet? I often wonder where the people working in hydropower project tunnels do their big business. Of course they are in the tunnel but that's their workplace too. 

First, employers are ignorant that access to clean toilet is a basic human right (perhaps even employees too are ignorant that it's their right to demand) and second, they don't realise that toilet in the workplace could increase productivity. The time wasted by employees in looking for a safe corner to defecate and the sick leave employees take due to illnesses caused by lack of sanitation could be translated into meaningful work if there is easy access to clean toilet in the workplace. 

This year World Toilet Day theme is 'Toilets and Jobs' and in Bhutan we are observing the day by joining the cleaners at Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) to see how a day in their life feels like. Our little cousin Dr. Toilet is partnering with Bhutan Toilet Org to clean up all the toilets in the hospital on November 19, 2016. 49 medical students from RIHS are volunteering with us on the day. 

And for those of you who can't be with us physically, show us your support by sharing pictures of your workplace toilet (with hash tag #Myworkplacetoilet) on our event page. 

To understand how Toilets play a crucial role in creating a strong economy, as well as improving health and protecting people’s safety and dignity, read more on World Toilet Day blog.

24 November 2015

Traditional Bhutanese Toilet Habits

The oldest form of toilets in Bhutan were in strange ways comparable to the most advance toilets today because they didn't need to be flushed, they never got blocked, and at the end human waste wasn't a problem. The typical traditional toilet hung from the first floor with a wide opening, and poop dropped one floor straight down losing all its smell in the wind before it landed. On the ground pigs would wipe clean everything as if there never existed a toilet, except for the sticks and stones that were used for wiping (May be our forefathers reused those). Remember not a single drop of fresh water was wasted. In fact some families fought with pigs to save the poop for producing manure.

Traditional Toilet 
Unfortunately, in 90s our toilets changed suddenly and people were obliged to shut their traditional toilets. People found it disgusting to see their own poop centimetres below in the pot, and smell filling up the air tight chamber, worse they couldn't understand the logic behind wasting huge amount of fresh water to wash their waste.

So old habits die hard; they still feel the pigs would eat after they leave and therefore forget to flush (or intentionally save water), and they smuggle in sticks and stones to wipe their hard butts, which land up choking the new toilets.
A typical public toilet 

The fastest way to solve our toilet usage crisis is to bring back our tradition auto system toilet or wait till the last generation of traditional toilet user die. Well that's what most educated experts think when we discuss toilet but that assumption seemed to have caused most of the modern toilet problems in Bhutan.



The assumption is that our people don't know how to use toilet well, therefore our toilets will be dirty, which made our intelligent engineers come up with a solution even before the problem emerged. The solution was to hide the toilet from public places, so that it doesn't become an eye sore in the unforeseen future. Smart solution, because not many people found them and therefore every open space became toilet for our people, and some people who managed to discover the hidden toilet found it very safe to misuse the facility because there is no one around to watch, while others reach there at the end of their wit and let go wherever they could manage to lower their pants.

It's hard to find the starting point of our problem loop- is it because our toilet are hidden that caused the problem or is it because our people don't know how to use toilets therefore it's hidden? Anyway, it's time to break the loop and dare to test our people- present them with clean toilets with adequate water supply at a reachable distance and see if our people are so evil.

During the 18 days Public Toilet Facelifting event by Bhutan Toilet Organization across the country we found out that toilets that are within populated areas are still in use and in better condition, whereas the ones that are tactfully hidden from public eyes are not only blocked and dirty but also destroyed (See the pictures).

Details report from all Dzongkhags will be shared soon.





09 November 2015

Public Toilet Lovers in Bhutan

This November 19, on the World Toilet Day, Bhutan Toilet Organization will be celebrating its first anniversary. So far in our first year of existence we have enjoyed huge support from concerned citizens and we have been able to make people talk about toilets, if nothing. We have done an online campaign Let's Make Toilet a Better Place and on the ground we have transformed the public toilet in Paro into one exemplary toilet in the country, where different groups of people came together to address the issue.

On our journey we also met some people who were experts on the issue and who also knew that it's impossible to change toilets in Bhutan, but we are very naive and would like to believe that we can change. We want to form the largest network of responsible citizens to assist government and local authorities build and maintain toilets.

So are we have about 160 members from across the country and abroad, forming a network of toilet lovers. And our first big assignment is to make every public toilet in the country clean and open to public by 19th November. So far in our assessment we found out that the public toilets across the country share similar fate; they are broken, blocked, and neglected. Therefore, our members are already briefed and they are working on their unique plan to address the issues. On 19th November we will share stories of how our members have transformed public toilets in their regions.

We are not just looking at one time cleaning campaign, our members will work with communities and local authorities to find a sustainable solution to maintaining the toilets after our event. We will continue to monitor the toilets hereafter and provide feedback to the authorities.

This year World Toilet Organization asked us to join their global event called The Urgent Run and we have registered this event with them, because transforming our public toilets is an urgency in Bhutan. We also received approval from the Health Ministry and appreciation from the Health Minister himself. But without any financial support so far our members will have to improvise and fund the event through their own local initiatives.



Following are few pictures of Public Toilets in our Country:

Bumthang

Trongsa

Mongar
If you wish to Join us as a member, Register below: