Looking For A Toilet Near You? Google Search It
Among the many questions that bother you when you are away from home is that how will you manage in case you have to answer the nature's call. In India, most will have to wait till they reach the luxury of their homes or offices. This, however, may change soon as far as people in the national capital region and Madhya Pradesh are concerned.
The Ministry of Urban Development has partnered with search engine major Google to launch Google Map Toilet Locater. This will help citizens find the nearest public toilet.
The maps would be providing information on public restrooms in the NCR and Madhya Pradesh. The feature would be available on Andriod and iOS Google Map app, and can also be accessed from a desktop.
The map results will also display public restrooms available in malls, hospitals, petrol pumps, etc. Users can notify the app manager if the listed toilet is permanently closed. Through this, the government is also trying to crowdsource the information about the hygiene and cleanliness of public restrooms.
Currently, Google will provide toilet locations in Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Noida and Faridabad in the NCR, and Bhopal and Indore in Madhya Pradesh. The information about the 4,000 toilets will be updated regularly.
Sanket Gupta, product manager, Google Maps, says: “When you search for 'public toilet' on Google Maps in an area where the service is available, you'll see a list of restrooms near you, including the respective address and opening hours. For instance, if you're travelling on the National Highway-8 in Gurgaon, locating a public toilet can be challenging, and most often the only option is going to nearby restaurants and cafes. Having this information handy can make things much easier.”
The New Delhi Municipal Council has also come up with an app where it has uploaded over 330 toilets that are available for use in the area. The user can rate the restroom based on his experience and give feedback for improvement in services and amenities.
The Google Toilet Locater Campaign was initiated as a pilot project in 2016, and has tagged 5,000 toilets so far. The aim is to make cities open-defecation free. These apps would be instrumental for improving the public amenities and force civic bodies to focus on citizen satisfaction. To boost citizen's interest in the initiative, users will be aptly rewarded for giving feedback and rating the toilets.
It is worth noting here that over 504 cities and towns, which also include cities with a population over four million, have achieved the status of being free of open defecation. A total of 739 cities and towns have committed themselves to achieve the target by March this year.