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Be ready to take a shower if you take a leak in public

Sravanthi Challapalli Chennai | Updated on January 08, 2018

Public relief There have been campaigns against public urination from time to time, both in India and abroad

Red FM’s social campaign tries to tackle the issue of urination in public

Last week, some men in Delhi were subjected to a rude shock — they got drenched in water as they relieved themselves against the city’s walls in public. Radio station 93.5 Red FM was behind this — in a social campaign against public urination, it fixed showers on a few walls infamous for being ‘ Ek Number Walls’. The showers would turn on whenever an unsuspecting offender did the deed.

“We’re not a solution provider, but can educate people,” says Rajat Uppal, National Marketing Head, 93.5 Red FM.

The campaign will go to other parts of the country after Diwali.

The radio station also shot footage of the offenders for three days and put out a video online.

They publicised the campaign along the Delhi Metro routes as men tend to exit the trains and make a beeline for these walls. Walls near Khalsa College, Anand Vihar and Maharani Bagh were some of those targeted.

Indians will be familiar with walls carrying pictures of deities or religious symbols — or written abuses — to prevent such misuse.

There have been campaigns against this problem from time to time, both in India and abroad.

In Hyderabad last year, in one such effort, the police garlanded such men to embarrass them into stopping such behaviour.

Earlier, in Mumbai, a tanker fitted with hoses went around patrolling the streets, with masked volunteers raining torrents of water down on the culprits.

In Hamburg, Germany and San Francisco, the US, walls coated with liquid repellent paint directed the urine back on to the person relieving himself.

Other campaigns have encouraged people to call out the offenders by whistling and shouting whenever they were spotted.

Poor sanitation

Observers point to the inadequate number of public toilets, apart from men’s lack of inhibition, as a cause. What’s more, these toilets are usually filthy. Earlier this year, a Union Minister was caught in the act, which attracted widespread attention, and he blamed the lack of public urinals for it.

Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of social service organisation Sulabh International, which has set up several pay-and-use toilets, says there has been greater awareness since Swachh Bharat Abhiyan came into being.

There are cultural factors to be addressed, and it will take constant education, in classrooms and outside, to prevent people from doing this, he adds.

He recommends fines, but small ones, to help mitigate the problem.

Deep Bajaj, Founder of PeeBuddy, a brand of urination devices for women to use in the absence of toilets, says no campaign seems to have any effect.

He believes the government should invest money in building more toilets rather than prioritise the Swachh Bharat campaign. Hygiene products such as his are “good to have”, but are mainly urban and don’t solve the larger problem, he adds. Having said that, he says this category of products is growing and will have a big market in the next 15-20 years.

Published on October 08, 2017

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