On his way home from his office in New Motibagh, Ishan Anand, 26, saw a man urinating on the street near Africa Avenue Road. This surprised him as less than 50 metres away from the spot there was a public toilet built by New Delhi Municipal Corporation. And, around a kilometre’s distance from the place is another block of five toilets.
“I was surprised as this is among the very few stretches in Delhi that has well maintained public toilets,” said Ishan. The sight made Ishan realise that several people urinate on the streets because they don’t know the location of the toilets. “Many people would avoid urinating in public if they knew the location of the nearest toilet,” he said. This gave Ishan and idea to develop a mobile application to track all toilets maintained by Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Delhi Development Authority and the ones in toilets in malls and petrol pumps.
It took Ishan, an engineer by profession, 10 months to link a total of 1,100 toilets in his application which not only helps one to locate the nearest toilet but also asks users feedback on how well it is maintained.
Being the son of former DDA vice-chairman helped Ishan get an access to the toilets’ locations from municipal corporations and DDA. Initially, he used to visit the sites and see the condition of the toilets. Later, when it became difficult to cope up with the work pressure as well as visiting the sites, he hired a person to do the site visits, take pictures and give feedback.
“I have rated all the toilets that would help one know about its cleanliness aspect. If the toilet has received five stars it is in very good condition while one star means very poor. The application was launched by Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung last week. During the launch, the L-G had urged municipal corporations and DDA to use the app to upgrade the existing conditions of public toilets and also help in updating the locations of all the public toilets which do not figure in the list at present.
During his research, Ishan found that several toilets are not well-maintained. He said, “The app can be used by the civic bodies to keep a check on the maintenance of the toilets.”
The mobile app uses the phone’s GPS to help find toilets within a 3km radius. Once the nearest toilet is located/selected then the app will provide the shortest route to its exact location. Any user can write a review on existing facilities available and also add toilets that are not listed.
“We are trying to crowd source as it is very difficult for an individual to locate all the toilets. Any user can click a picture of a toilet which would be later verified by me and if details found correct, it would be uploaded,” said Ishan. The application can be downloaded on android and iPhones.
Next, Ishan wants to cover NCR region after which he will focus on other Metro cities.