Chennai has zero community toilets. Shocking, is it not? The Corporation of Chennai has somewhere between 800 and 1000 public toilets, some of which are located near low income settlements. None of these have been designed to be community toilets though. A community toilet has several essential design features, about which I wrote in a previous blog.
There is much to learn from the working of previously constructed community managed toilets. When it comes to public sanitation, it is the provision of facilities for the poorest that is often neglected. According to a 2011 census, only 46.9% of India’s homes have a toilet. Open defecation is prominent among those who do not have access to private sanitation facilities and posses many health and safety risks. These could be the urban poor who live in slums and informal settlements and also commuters.