The District 1 People’s Committee in Ho Chi Minh City has publicized a list of 100 restaurants and coffee shops that offer free toilet service to residents and tourists.
The district also selected five venues to build public restrooms, which was announced at a meeting between Nguyen Van Nen, secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, and the District 1 People’s Committee on public bathroom systems on Sunday.
Speaking at the meeting, District 1 chairman Le Duc Thanh said that the district has 18 public restroom points at 13 public places, including four markets, seven parks, one bus stop, and a residential area.
The district is home to multiple restaurants, hotels, and shopping centers, making life easier to call on these facilities to offer free-of-charge toilet services to residents and tourists, Thanh said, adding that the district finds it hard to build new public bathrooms as the land bank in District 1 is now running out.
Though the district has prodded businesses and service providers to allow free access to their bathrooms since 2017, many toilets fail to meet safe sanitation standards. Furthermore, people remain hesitant to use free restrooms.
As many as 100 restaurants and coffee shops have put up ‘free-of-charge toilet’ signs, said Thanh.
The District 1 People’s Committee has proposed the Ho Chi Minh People’s Committee give the nod for its plan to build five makeshift bathrooms funded by the city’s budget.
The five projected public restrooms will lie on Nguyen Hue, Le Duan, Hai Ba Trung, and Nguyen Trung Truc Streets.
It is a big headache to find a site for new public toilets.
The district has proposed the city allow it to use part of some land lots set aside for projects but the plans to construct public bathrooms remain on paper, said vice-chairman of District 1 Vu Nguyen Quang Vinh.
Funding is the next challenge.
Each public toilet is expected to cost some VND550 million (US$23,330), while the monthly operation cost for it will be at least VND36 million ($1,520).
As such, the district needs to earmark some VND2.5 billion ($106,000) in total for building the five new restrooms.
When working with many investors who are keen on bathroom construction, they expect the district authorities to pledge the capital recoupment period, aside from their advertising and business operations.
Ho Chi Minh City is facing a severe shortage of public restrooms, as the city has a mere 200 public restrooms.
The city is ranked 67th among 69 tourism cities in the world with poor public toilets, Nikkei Asia cited rankings by QS Supplies, a toilet trading company, in a report released in early February.
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