(Cover Image: Modern self-cleaning toilete, Stockholm)

…In the last article, How Should the Modern Urban Areas Look Like – Air/Water Problems & Solutions, I mentioned problems of the modern cities regarding increasing air and water pollution, and lack of free drinkable water fountains at the major city spots, like main squares, marketplaces, green areas like parks, as well as in some indoor public places like libraries or shopping malls.

Today I will write something about the thing that frustrated me even when I was still living in Munich, Bavaria, and especially when I came in Stockholm, Sweden, where I still live.

When you are unemployed, without money savings and homeless you see many things that most other employed people don’t see, you see the true reality of the place where you live.

One of those bad spots of the cities like Munich, Berlin, Stockholm, just to mention a few, is a serious lack of public sanitary facilities, ie toiletes, especially free ones (for poor citizens), that are mostly situated in the central, touristic part of the big cities.

Most of the toiletes that are present are those that you have to pay for, for exp. 50 cents in Munich and 5 SEK in Stockholm. So, there are lot of different types of toiletes in the city, but not enough free ones. And going to the toilet is also one of the important human need, that can, if mistreated, end with serious physical problems, even hospitalized.

Diferent types of toiletes in Stockholm (Photo merge by IMGOnline)

I understand that all of the toiletes have to be regularily cleaned and maintained (for exp. toilet paper, water, electricity, sewage systems are not for free, somebody has to pay them), but the prices of the toilete use are a bit to high, especially if you are homeless and unemployed.

Some people justify this payed toilete system saying that most free toiletes are filthy, broken, have no toilete paper and are sometimes places where homeless people sleep, where the drug addicts or alcoholics spend their time enjoying their addiction problems. That all is sometimes true, but I have seen lot of toiletes that you have to pay for, and they are in general no cleaner or better.

Modern, clean and free indoor toiletes, Fältöversten shopping mall, Karlaplan, Stockholm

For me personally, I would put some free toiletes, or which is even better, special system with public cards (some sort of impersonal ID with only the number of the card, not any names and similar data of the user attach to it, to avoid the Big Brother surveilance system problem), for both locals and tourists. Through this special cards system anybody can choose how much they want to pay for using the toilete, or some other city public service (I will write about that in some other article).

For example, you want to pay 10 SEK and enter the toilet, you put your card onto the device scanner that stands next to the toilet door, it asks you how much you want to pay from your card, you press the amount, confirm it, and enter the toilet.

Inside of modern and free self-cleaning toilete, Stockholm

Of course, you have to charge your card with money, for exp. in some public stores, special city offices etc., like we do for mobile cards, credit cards, or special debit cards that don’t require bank account.

And there are at least two good advantages to this card system, first everybody pays, which means some of this money goes to maintaince of this sanitary facilities, and the other is that all the money you spent for this activities is not completely lost for the customers.

Using cards something like this; up – debit card without opening bank account, can be bought in any store; down – city travel card

For example, we can use that paying system as a part of award system, for example, all the customers that paid in the previous period, can get some bonuses from the sponsors of this award system, like prizes from the city companies or other sponsors, like supermarkets etc. And the more you pay, the better bonuses and awards you get (thet don’t say for nothing that money creates more money, which is one of the problems of the modern capitalism). In exchange, the ads of this sponsors could be shown for some period of time in the very same sanitar and other public facilities. So, its a win-win-win situation, city gets the money for operating the sanitary system, best customers get some awards and bonuses from the city and sponsors for using and paying of this facilities, and sponsors get the cheaper ads on or in that facilities.

As far as for the number of all free and payed toilet facilities in the bigger urban areas, I would recommend the same thing that I wrote about in the last post, How Should the Modern Urban Areas Look Like – Air/Water Problems & Solutions, when I was writing about the possible numbers of free drinkable water fountains.

Of course, we can improve this system with robotic self-cleaning toilete system (which already exists in some way in Stockholm), that would check did the customers left the toilete clean after using it (misusing it would mean bad points on the card of the user) and etc.

What do you says about all of this, would it be better if we had public toilet systems something like I proposed and wrote about?

Do you have some of your own good ideas?

Write about it in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading!


Interesting links:

5 Reasons Why Just Building Toilets Won’t Improve Urban Sanitation

Public Toilets, a Bright Spot in Sweden

42 free self-cleaning public toilets in Stockholm