From 2016 to today Ulka Saldkar and his partner Rajeev Kher have thus started to place in public places and parks of the city - with the permission of the town hall - a super bathroom-equipped with a special feature that makes them particularly visible and easily "transportable". It is in fact the old public service buses, painted in shocking pink, refurbished and put back into circulation to serve each one on average between 150 and 300 women per day.
Of these media groups, "You Toilet" ("ti" means "you" in the local language Marathi) there are so far 15 are in circulation, and have cost between 12 thousand and 15 thousand euro. But Ulka and Rajeev, who have copied the idea from buses in similar service in San Francisco, they plan to build 1000 by bringing in other great cities of the continent, to make up literally to the needs of a wide segment of the population who may not always use the toilet in public, despite the prime minister Narendra Modi has declared in October 2019 India "no open defecation" and assured that 600 million people have had thanks to his government, access to toilet facilities.
Many of the new toilets fixed in camento built through his program, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a Mission to clean India, suffer from, in fact, serious problems of maintenance. Often they are clogged after the first few days of opening, others are cleaned rarely and are hygienically a challenge for all women, especially during the cycle, but also for children and elderly, not to mention fears of violence and rape looking for a private corner in the open air. Although the overall situation is much improved with substantial state aid to build toilets in private homes, the reality especially in the rural areas remains dramatic. According to the latest data available from the world Bank in 2015 still defecava to open 40 percent of the population, while the Unicef was estimated in 400 children under the age of 5 die every day of diseases related to hygiene.
The two entrepreneurs of Pune initially wanted to propose to the government to provide their service free of charge. But the risks that the bus rosa would be the end of other public facilities has made them change their mind, and after spending between 12 and 15 thousand euros for the restructuring of the bus line, the "Best" dismissed from the service on the streets of Pune, they fixed the final cost of their use to 5 rupees, 6 euro cents, which (almost) all of us can afford.
In exchange it is offered, "what a woman will need - explains Ulka - without worrying about when it will come out from the house". On the walls of the bus powered by a solar panel on the roof, are posted signs with instructions for the use of local language and hindi, but there is also an assistant on board for any eventuality. Free also disposable, as a basis for the exchange of the diaper to the children, even a distributor of drinking water to fill the bottles, televisions and monitors for measuring temperature, with the chance to buy the sanitary pads.
"we Believe that women deserve access to clean bathrooms and safe, it is their fundamental right," he explained Ulka, which, together with the partner directs a company that specializes in sanitation, portable utilizzatissimi for example, in the places of religious events, or cultural, where you collect hundreds, if not thousands of people in areas without access to bathrooms.
But solutions such as the bus-toilet pink are much more practical and less expensive construction of concrete structures, as well as to offer possibilities that were previously unthinkable, as they have also understood the members of the Toilet Board Coalition, a consortium of non-governmental international who has started to work in the same city of Pune is ready to expand all over India and other countries with similar problems. The idea is to use on the bus but also in the toilet public the discoveries of the european space Agency, with sensors, with which to draw valuable information from the waste and produce biogas. Will be able for example to detect outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and prevent its spread, as announced by Sunil Agarwal, director of the project "Smart Sanitation City" of the Toilet coalition of Pune. But they can also detect vitamin deficiencies, and offer other indicators to the public health authority.
Also the pink bus has the rest of the objectives are equally ambitious. "No longer will a simple toilet, he explained, Ulka Saldkar - But a place where women can also be examined by the experts and obtain information on problems such as urinary tract infections, cancer and other".
According to her, and his partner, this is also not only a social activity and humanitarian, even if many of the women customers, bless, literally, the operators on board before getting off from the bus. "The industry of sanitation in India, said Rajeev - is a field at dawn. But it can become a business by 60 billion dollars".
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