Ho Chi Minh City leaders have established a goal to improve public restrooms, in an effort to enhance the city’s convenience and urban aesthetic.
At a Monday afternoon meeting chaired by Tran Vinh Tuyen, vice-chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, measures were discussed to ameliorate the conditions of public toilets across the southern hub.
Speaking at the gathering, Nguyen Thi Thanh My, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Natural Resources and Environment, stated that a total of 208 public restrooms had been constructed in the city.
Among them, 155 are located at local parks, markets, bus stations, and along major streets, while 53 are built near tourist attractions.
“Surveys showed that a large number of these facilities had been degrading while some others were not appropriately located,” My said.
The restrooms are also insufficient in terms of quantity and standard, the official continued.
According to My, the municipal Department of Transport has cooperated with local lender Sacombank to invest in several modern lavatories in downtown areas.
“The municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment has been tasked with devising a project to install new public restrooms and recycle bins across the city. The plan has been submitted to relevant agencies and the leaders of central districts, namely District 1, 3, and 5,” the deputy director said.
Officials of the wards and districts stated that choosing a location for such an establishment would be difficult as people would not be inclined to like the idea of a public toilet near their houses or workplaces.
Vice-chairman Tuyen asserted that the proper investment in standardized and modern lavatories played a crucial role in boosting tourism as well as developing a civilized lifestyle.
While waiting for new facilities to be constructed, local leaders should focus on renovating old ones, according to Tuyen.
The official suggested that potential contractors be chosen for the construction of new public restrooms.
“If they [the contractors] agree to build high-quality lavatories, they would be granted certain land plots in the city to carry out their investment,” he recommended.
According to the observation of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters, many public toilets in the city are messy and over-run with unpleasant smells.
At a restroom near the bus station in 23/9 Park, District 1, despite charging each user VND3,000 (US$0.13), the establishment is always smelly and dirty with many devices missing or degraded.
A similar situation can be observed at the restroom near Ben Thanh Bus Station, inside which users often have to cover their noses due to the pungent odor.
Several lavatories along streets in District 1, where guests are also charged VND3,000 each, are cramped and hard to move around in.
Many citizens expect a better service as they have to pay each time they use it.
Interviewees stated that they were most satisfied with the public restrooms constructed by Sacombank, which are free of charge, at the 23/9, Le Van Tam, and Tao Dan Parks.
The restrooms could be further improved with sufficient toilet paper and bidet showers to provide users with maximum convenience, some locals suggested.
Some also reported that there was no restroom near the 30/4 Park and the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, which are often packed with visitors.