Mon | Jan 30, 2023

People should learn and practise toilet hygiene

Published:Tuesday | December 6, 2022 | 12:09 AM


The lead story in The Sunday Gleaner on the dreadful state of the restrooms at public hospitals is in no way alarming. Using public toilets in Jamaica is often the ultimate indignity one must endure.

There is much blame to go around about the filthy condition of these facilities. Sadly, too many managers at these institutions pay scant regard to their maintenance. Often, they are cleaned only once daily. It may seem obvious but it is worth restating, bathrooms have to be cleaned and restocked round the clock.

Another major issue is that toilets that are meant for low usage are placed in high-traffic areas. Selecting the appropriate toilets for public spaces will go a long way in mitigating some of the technical issues that render them unusable.

There has to be a public campaign on the proper use of toilets. Unfortunately, the situation at hospitals is mirrored in many schools across the island. School janitors, who have to clean these unsightly bathrooms, can attest that this aspect of students’ education is often sorely overlooked. These children continue to abuse public facilities into their adulthood. The message of standing on toilets and smearing walls must be countered with good toilet etiquette, and we must be intentional about teaching it in our schools.

Often when we speak of First-World countries, we focus on indicators such as wealth and governance, but for me, the most telling sign of the First-World status is the general condition of the country’s bathrooms. Because this space reveals the level of respect the individuals have for themselves and others.

Addressing issues around the use and maintenance of public toilets is as good a place as any to start.