The stinking backyards of sparkling Thimphu

Residents and shopkeepers in Thimphu Thromde raise concerns over public toilet amenities


Residents and shopkeepers under Thimphu Thromde are increasingly voicing concerns about the cleanliness and inadequate facilities of public toilets. The lack of proper sanitation facilities in various public areas of the city has become a significant issue affecting the lives of many.

“We don’t necessarily have a problem with using the public toilet facilities. But having a clean and convenient restroom nearby is essential, especially for women,” said one of the shopkeepers. This sentiment is echoed by many others who emphasize the importance of having facilities that cater specifically to their needs.

Thimphu Thromde has acknowledged the issue and stated that they are collaborating with private firms like Dr. Toilet, Bhutan, and government agencies such as the Department of Tourism and the Ministry of Health.

Currently, Thimphu Thromde has 11 public toilets, with an additional eight attached to vegetable markets, totaling 19 public toilets.

However, many existing public toilets are outdated and poorly maintained. “First and foremost is water. If there is adequate water, 90% of the toilets are clean by basic design. Our public toilet facilities feature a toilet bowl, paper roll dispensers, and a wash basin (water, soap, hand dryer),” said a spokesperson from Thromde.

He said there are lots of other options available, e.g., urinals, baby changing stations, hygiene spray and waste containers, air freshener sprays, and properly trained toilet caretakers.

The lack of proper sanitation facilities not only affects the physical health and well-being of users but also impacts their productivity and morale. Many residents and shopkeepers juggle multiple responsibilities, including managing their businesses and caring for their families. The time and energy spent on accessing basic amenities like toilets detract many from their ability to focus on their work and daily activities.

One of the major hurdles is the quality and reliability of the water supply. Inadequate water supply hampers the cleanliness of the toilets, making them less usable.

“The public toilets are supposed to have a consistent water supply, but often the water is stored for days making it unhygienic. During water shortages, the situation becomes worse affecting our ability to maintain personal hygiene,” said a resident.

Moreover, the absence of proper sanitation facilities during menstruation is particularly challenging for women. “It’s extremely difficult to manage menstrual hygiene in these conditions. Sometimes, there’s no water for cleaning, and the public toilets are not equipped with essential facilities like sanitary bins or proper washing areas,” said another frustrated resident.

Addressing these concerns, Thimphu Thromde has outlined a comprehensive plan to improve sanitation facilities. This includes constructing new public toilets with modern amenities and renovating existing ones to meet current standards.

The new designs will incorporate features such as disabled-friendly access, baby changing stations, and proper waste disposal units, ensuring a clean and safe environment for all users.

The spokesperson from Thimphu Thromde emphasized the importance of proper maintenance and regular cleaning of the toilets. “We are committed to ensuring that the public toilets are well-maintained. This includes training caretakers, ensuring a steady water supply, and installing necessary hygiene products like soap and hand dryers,” he stated.

As Thimphu continues to grow and develop, providing adequate sanitation facilities is crucial for the well-being and productivity of its residents and shopkeepers.

The collaboration between Thimphu Thromde, private firms, and government agencies is envisioned to be a positive step towards achieving this goal, but sustained efforts and community involvement will be essential in making these improvements a reality.

Related Posts

About The Author