Nothing gives a good impression than a clean and well ventilated toilet. Similarly the sight of a dirty, and smelly toilets lingers forever in people’s minds.

However, despite improving sanitation, usage and tidiness of toilets is still a huge challenge. Highways in the country have no toilet and the sight of a bus, matatu, and saloon cars stopping by the road side for commuters to relieve themselves in the bushes seems to be an accepted phenomenon.

More often long distance drivers stop vehicles and announce to all and sundry ”endeni mjisaidie.” (Go for calls). And sure enough passengers troop to the bushes.

The recent clearing of the Nakuru- Nairobi highway by the county government has created a bad joke. Whenever travelers stop the vehicles the drivers quip,”Utajificha wapi, vumilia tufike Delamare.”

The availability of toilets at the Delamare shopping centre has not only made it a popular shopping centre, but it has also become a major meeting point.

A shop owner at the centre, Rose Njeri, said the major attraction of the area were twenty clean well serviced toilets.

However, one of the women workers said the way many people use a toilet leaves a lot to be desired. Even if lam employed to clean the toilet flushing after usage is not part of my duties,” she said.

Other shopping centres with pay toilets have similar complaints of people walking away without flushing. Imagine we have even provided water, but still users walk away after use, while others stand on instead of squatting on cisterns simply because they have paid ten shillings,” she added.

A public health officer based in Nakuru, Reuben Kangaru said clean toilets was a prerequisite to a disease free environment attributing poor use of the services to bad parenting.

A clean and flushed toilets has no germs, and in fact it’s much cleaner than door handles, and therefore the fear of sitting on it was unfounded,” said Kangaru.

Kangaru attributed the debauched usage of toilets to the wrong imagination and perceptions people have of toilets. A number of people attribute toilets to dirt, germs and all sorts of bad things, but truth be told, toilets have less germs compared to bus rails, shaking dirty hands and even mobile phones,” he said.

He attributed the lack of toilets in a number of homes in the country to the negative perceptions. He gave an example of Nakuru County which has a deficit of 20 per cent toilets in the slum areas, and some rural parts which are unwilling to build pit latrines near their homesteads.

He urged parents with young children not to use derogatory language contributed to the negative perceptions of toilets and hence the misuse. He appealed to county governments to construct toilets along the highways as a way of creating positive impressions to their visitors and residents.

Our MCAs have been traveling all over the world and one great aspect they should have borrowed is the clean and well maintained toilets all over the places they visited.

He added that the UN has set aside an international toilet day in November every year, as a way of encouraging, good hygiene and a mark of civilisation.

Source: Kenya News Agency