A public toilet on Hai Ba Trung street, Hanoi (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Public toilets have been a neglected part amid development changes in Hanoi, with just above 370 ones currently operating to serve its 7.7 million residents and a large number of domestic and foreign visitors.

The shortage of public toilets in the capital city has forced many to struggle to find a proper place to feel “relief”. Others resort to out-of-the-way corners such as bushes, stumps of big trees or walls along the street, even when prohibition notices are there. Due to a lack of nearby restrooms, Thong Nhat park and bus stations on Quan Su and Tran Nhat Duat streets could be named among hotspots inflicted by disorderly public urination. The negative behaviour hurts the capital’s image, but still happens.

A new Government decree, which took effect on February 1, 2017, stipulated that people who are caught urinating in public will be fined between 1 and 3 million VND (44-133 USD). But enforcement remains sporadic.

For the existing public toilets, maintenance and hygiene is also an issue, hindering access to the scarce service.

To serve increased demand of the public, particularly during holidays and major public events, the local authorities have erected temporary restrooms, but they just solved the problem in short terms.

In another bid to address the shortage, the municipal People’s Committee approved in principle the construction of 1,000 public toilets across the city in 2016, with Vinasing Trading and Communication JSC selected for the job. The company said it would sponsor the building of these facilities in exchange to be allowed to put up advertising billboards on the city’s footbridges and overpasses in ten years.

By the end of 2017, only 165 toilets were completed, of which 98 have opened to the public. Residents complained that Vinasing’s toilets have faulty or damaged associated facilities, hence the company has had to halt its construction.-VNA