Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Indian Railways, Scrap Western Out, Please!



Everyone in India knows it, experienced it, that the western toilets in trains are virtually useless. Western toilets are for "dry" type, to be used with tissue papers; while a vast majority of Indians prefer water over tissue . Indian/Asian toilets are built for just that; to clean with water. Western toilets with washlet are on rise in Punjab  (you turn a knob to spray water underneath, a miniature version of TOTO); it works fine as well. But all western toilets comes with a big catch; it obviously not good for public toilets comparing with Asian toilets; know why? Contact Transfer! Skin contact is the "silk route" for microbes to transmit contagious diseases and avoiding surfaces that are exposed to skin contact is the best practice for public hygiene- the very reason why infra-red based automatic water faucets were invented.

Coming to Indian Railways-world's biggest open toilet, everyone knows toilets are dirty and emanates ammonia stink such that spending a few minutes is sufficient for your cloths to absorb the stink. This is especially true for toilets in long haul trains that are approaching the destination without proper water supply. Look Udyan Abha Toofan express or Avadh Assam express, I have travelled more than 30 times in both of these trains in Sleeper class and never saw leaver for flush or got it working. What about western toilets? No one uses them; these are safe havens for smokers. Obviously Railways won't provide papers. Even if they do, western toilet seats are extremely soiled, wet, and you will spend good one hour just to clean it. Another reason why seats get soiled is that most of the male travellers just pee on to the toilet without lifting the seat (why to blame them, who dare to touch the seats!) With a million travellers daily, toilets in Indian trains are so much used and even in a perfect case scenario with properly clean and dry western toilets with alcohol sanitizing sprays/wipes, these under performs microbiologically comparing with Indian counterpart.

So come Railways, lets get rid of these nasty western toilets and convert them to Indian for the sake of public convenience and above all personal hygiene! Half of us in India have mobile phones but no toilets; let us use some common-sense to make existing toilets at least usable! 

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