‘Holy pictures’ way to prevent public urination urination

- GAURAV THAPA, Kathmandu
‘Holy pictures’ way to prevent public urination urination

Jun 29, 2015-

The underpass beneath the Baijani Pul (Purple Bridge) at Chabahil in the Capital has become a favourite spot among passersby for answering the call of nature. The relatively darker corridor adjacent to an already polluted Dhobi Khola River should not warrant much attention, but being merely 15 paces from the main entrance to Om Hospital is indeed a cause for serious concern.

On any day of observation, people can be seen urinating in the undesignated toilet at the rate of one person per minute. Furthermore, the landscape is littered with solid waste as well as faecal matter resulting in both unpleasant sight and smell.

“It is really convenient here,” said Anish Guragain, who hangs out around Om Hospital with his college friends, after taking a leak. “I try my best not to cause an unpleasant sight by facing away from the hospital while pissing and aiming at the stream.” Absence of a public toilet in the area has compounded the matter. Nearby shopkeepers and visitors to the hospital have no option but to relieve themselves in the not-so-clandestine venue. Kumar, who only gave his first name, operates an ice-cream cart in front of the hospital. He put both convenience and compulsion as the main reasons for using the “open lavatory”.

“We are not allowed to use the toilet inside the hospital,” Kumar said. “I cannot leave my cart here and go looking for a public toilet.”

Hospital authorities said they were aware of the problem and tried to fix it in the past but to no avail. “We put holy pictures on the walls in an attempt to discourage people but that did not work,” Managing Director of Om Hospital Hari Kishor Shrestha said. Stating that toilets inside hospital premises are not off-limits to outsiders, he, however, believes that a public toilet in the area is the best solution.

Environment Division Chief at Kathmandu Metropolitan City Hari Kunwar admitted knowledge of the situation at hand. But as installation of sewerage line is underway along the sides of the river, he said that establishing a public toilet there would have to wait for some time. Spokesperson at the Ministry of Urban Development, Padma Kumar Mainali, said the completion of the sewerage line will take another one and a half years.

“I will seek an alternative solution to the problem for the time being,” Kunwar assured.

Hari Kishor Shrestha of Om Hospital is mulling ways to resolve the issue. The first being installing an idol or a small temple of a deity underneath the bridge which will deter people from urinating there due to the fear of committing a sin.

Secondly, Shrestha said people could be fined or reprimanded by hospital guards, but was sceptical as the hospital has no jurisdiction beyond its premises.

Also, the hospital itself cannot construct a toilet outside without permission from the city authorities.

Nevertheless, Shrestha said, the pollution outside is having no negative impact to patients inside the hospital. “We have high walls covering our compound, so patients need not worry,” he added.

Published: 30-06-2015 08:11

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