Public toilets in Nepal including in the capital valley or highways are not considered to be user friendly from the point of view of hygiene and cleanliness. Most users prefer to avoid. They use mostly only when is not tolerable.
But a public toilet Swoyambhuin Buddha Park, near Ring Road is a highly appreciable toilet. This has been placed among top 5 in the world by a Sweden based organisation’s Sarphati Sanitation Challenge.
Everything is clean and hygienic in the toilet. The floor, washbasins with automatic faucets, and commodes are washed and wiped regularly and the taps have clean running water. It’s also friendly to users with physical disabilities. There’s also a separate incinerator to manage sanitary pads disposal and a diaper changing table for parents. The toilet uses a waste-to-value system. The waste of the toilet is sent to an underground anaerobic bio-digester tank. That generates biogas also which is used in the kitchen in the toilet.A reed bed water recycling system for secondary treatment of the water used in the toilet and has a rainwater harvesting system also.
The in-house cafe is its most unique facility. Users are charged Rs. five for urination and Rs. 10 for defecation. For users those who pay Rs. 15 are offered a cup of tea.
Designed and constructed by Aerosan Sustainable Sanitation, a social enterprise started under cooperation of Canada-based NGO Aerosan Toilets in 2020. The organisation has already built similar toilets in Mangal Bazar and Baneshwor. In Patandhoka and Tripureshwor, their toilet designs are in the construction phase. Clean, hygienic, sustainable, and all-equipped sanitation facilities are the features of the organisation’s public toilets campaign. This movement is, in fact, redefining and reimagining how public toilets ought to be in the country. Therefore, the clean toilet at Swayambhu among others has been taken as example in the WASH sector and urban developers as well. River cleaning authorities are also paying attentions on this design for replication in other key locations. “Our aim is that those who come to use our public toilets will see that public toilets can be operated in hygienic and sustainable ways,” says Prakash Amatya, the Executive Director of Aerosan Sustainable Sanitation. “We Nepali people understand toilets as just a place to discard human waste and do not consider them important. This mentality is reflected in how the majority of our public toilets, many of which are located in dirty, dingy places and are unhygienic and lack basic facilities. Moreover, our society doesn’t respect the people managing public toilets. Therefore we aim to change all that, Amatya adds.