WaterAid launched a public toilet access card, distributing it amongst a group of marginalised people at the Gabtoli inter-district bus terminal public toilet – one of WaterAid’s first public toilets in Dhaka. This was done in collaboration with Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), Dustha Shathya Kendra (DSK) and Gabtoli inter-district bus terminal public toilet management committee.
Dhaka is the the second fastest growing megacity in the world where 40% of the city’s population are slum-dwellers1; each year approximately half a million inhabitants are added to the city’s population where they settle in slum areas. Services and facilities in these slums are minimal, depriving them of life’s basic rights, one being water and sanitation. Alongside these urban communities, commuters and pedestrians also face the daily struggles of lack of good public sanitation services. Women, children, and people with disabilities are most vulnerable under such circumstances.
Through the launch of this card, WaterAid, DNCC, DSK and and Gabtoli inter-district bus terminal public toilet management committee will provide a group of marginalised people with free access for water and toilet facilities in any of the 29 public toilets that WaterAid in collaboration with DNCC and DSCC have constructed over the past 5 years. Starting from the Gabtoli public toilet, the card will soon be distributed in all other areas where the public toilets are currently operational.
While access to water and sanitation is a human right, there are millions of marginalised people in Dhaka and all over the country who are still unable to access their rights due to the lack of facilities or due to the user fee/cost that comes associated with such public services. Through this card, the managing organisations believe that people will not only start using these unconventional and inclusive public toilets, but will also start to become more aware of what they deserve as their principal right. Besides, this initiative will also contribute in achieving the 6.1 and 6.2 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets of Bangladesh government.
Ms Saleha Binte Siraj, Zonal Executive Officer, Deputy Secretary, Zone 4, Dhaka North City Corporation attended the launching event as the Chief Guest. Md Anowar Hossain Bhuiyan, Slum Development Officer, Dhaka North City Corporation, Ms Hasin Jahan, Country Director, WaterAid Bangladesh; Dr. Mahmudur Rahman, Director – Health, Dustha Shathya Kendra (DSK); Al-hajj Md. Jalal Uddin, Chairman, Gabtoli Inter-District Bus Terminal Public Toilet Management Committee and General Secretary, Dhaka 1 Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre (2014). Human Development in South Asia 2014 – Urbanization: Challenges and Developments. Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore.
Bus-Truck Owner’s Group; Al-hajj Md. Aman Ullah, General Secretary, Dhaka District Transport Labor Union were also present as Special Guests. The event was chaired by Al-hajj Md. Abbas Uddin, President of Dhaka District Transport Labor Union and member of Gabtoli inter-district bus terminal public toilet management committee.