The mere thought of a public toilet may make you hold your nose. While some are in usable condition, most go uncleaned for days. With ever-increasing population density, and the high likelihood of them being unhygienic to use, many people refrain from visiting them.
Two budding entrepreneurs, however, have attempted to change the negativity surrounding these spots, by converting old buses into mobile public toilets for women. Ulka Sadalkar and Rajeev Kher, Pune residents with an interest in public sanitation, started this initiative some 13 years ago. Explaining how the duo chanced upon the idea, Kher said, “We read about how old buses were being used as shelter homes for people, and got inspired to use them in further projects.
After some brainstorming, we came up with the idea of converting these buses into toilets.” The project, called ‘Ti for Toilet’ (Ti meaning ‘her’ in Marathi), is in collaboration with the PMC.
Painted in a cheerful shade of pink, the toilets are powered by solar energy. “These buses have Western toilets, Indian toilets, washbasins, diaper dispensers, and humidity labs”, explains Kher.
They have also sanitary napkins for sale, assistant staff and a screen detailing cleanliness of the toilet. The ‘Ti’ toilets currently see a daily average of 150 users. Since they are yet to be self-sustainable, a charge of Rs. 5 per person is maintained for the services. The buses are currently parked at 11 locations across the city, spanning parks, tourist spots, busy crossroads and slum communities.
Aashna Kaul (Batch 2019)
Photo: TI for Toilet