Community toilet block project, Pune (1999 - 2000) and Sangli & Miraj (2001 - 2002)

Thousands of slum dwellers in Pune have no access to any kind of toilet facility, and those who do have to put up with the kind of facilities that no one would use if they had a choice.

Since most of the slums aren’t connected to the main sewage system, the old Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) toilets used archaic aqua-privy tanks that became blocked and cracked, and leaked over the surrounding area.

These toilets made no provision at all for small children, whose only option was to defecate on the ground nearby. Once the area was contaminated, people began to dump garbage, which in turn attracted flies, mosquitoes and pigs.

Given these conditions, and the huge numbers of people using each toilet block, the daily cleaning by a PMC employee did little to keep the facilities clean.

As well as working to provide new facilities, Shelter Associates has identified that the key to better community toilets is maintenance and community inclusion. PMC toilets that were installed without local consultation deteriorated rapidly. Now that local people are involved, the toilets are better cared for, with residents either employing caretakers or maintaining the toilets themselves.

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