India’s progress over the past two years has been truly noteworthy. As we usher in 2017, it’s time to take a step back and get a closer look at our achievements in the past year. Aside from all the news that’s been done to death by mainstream media, the Indian government also reportedly built nearly 11 million toilets across the country between 2015 and 2016. But what good are they if no one knows where to find them?
Google To The Rescue, Yet Again!
“Google is adding the location, address and opening hours of over four thousand communal and public restrooms to Maps”
Google and the Ministry of Urban Development, have entered into a partnership to guide people to public restrooms in their vicinity. “Google is adding the location, address and opening hours of over four thousand communal and public restrooms to Maps, aiming to provide easy access to information to people in India and help improve sanitation,” the company announced a few days back.
The next time you feel the urge to pee, try searching for“public toilet” on Google Maps & you will instantly get info on public restrooms nearby. The awesomeness doesn’t end there. The search giant also tells you what sort of toilet seat the restroom has (eastern “squat” toilets or western “pot” ones), and whether it is free to use or paid. The service understands both English and Hindi keywords.
Currently, Google is mapping facilities in New Delhi, Ghaziabad, Gurugram, Noida, Faridabad, Bhopal and Indore – on Google’s mobile app as well as its desktop site.
The Need For Sanitation
This development is a breath of fresh air in a country like ours, where sanitization has been a challenge all along. Even today, over 157 million urban Indians do not have access to toilets, and more than 41 million people residing in urban areas practice open defecation—the largest numbers in the world, as per a 2016 report by international charity WaterAid.
The Road Blocks
It is only logical to understand and accept that even though this development has been a huge milestone, it still does not remedy the situation completely. Going purely by the numbers, nearly 900 million Indians don’t have access to the internet, and are therefore unable to view maps.
But for those who do have smartphones, internet access, and GPS, the tool could give you a huge sigh of relief (pun intended)!
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