Haroon ur Rasheed
The historical tehsil Gor Ghatri is surrounded by walls, which unfortunately have been transformed into open toilets. In this area, there are no restrictions or prohibitions against open defecation or urination. It is disheartening to see such a situation, considering that this place is home to a general church for women and children, a girls’ high school, food shops, residential houses, and doctors’ clinics.
The prevalence of open urination
In various public locations across Peshawar, including Bacha Khan Chowk, Chowk Yadgar, Gor Ghatri, Ghanta Ghar, Hashtangari, Firdous, Haji Camp, and Cantt areas, it is a common sight to witness men urinating openly. When questioned about this practice, individuals who engage in open urination mentioned that they leave their homes early in the morning and return in the evening, seeking places where their privacy is not compromised.
When asked why they do not utilize public latrines, they expressed concerns about cleanliness. They believed that public latrines are often neglected in terms of hygiene, and they are filled with bacteria and germs. Furthermore, these facilities are frequently used by individuals with various communicable diseases, which discourages many people from utilizing them.
Another person shared their perspective, highlighting the rising inflation and unemployment rates. They argued that it would be better for public latrines to be free of charge, as paying for the use of washrooms is more affordable and hygienic than resorting to open urination in public spaces. They called upon the administration to ensure that public washrooms are accessible to everyone without any fees.
It is important to note that the responsibility for constructing public latrines in Peshawar city lies with the local government department. However, these latrines are often contracted out, and individuals are charged 50 rupees for defecation and 20 rupees for urination. Considering the population of the city, the availability of toilets is extremely limited and insufficient.
Civil society representatives have shared their perspectives on the issue, emphasizing that open defecation and urination are problems that require collective action from ordinary citizens. They believe that the government must establish effective laws to address these issues and ensure their proper implementation.
It is crucial that laws are not only formulated but also enforced rigorously. Every citizen has a responsibility to contribute towards creating a pollution-free environment. Additionally, raising awareness among the population is essential to bring about a positive change in behavior and attitudes towards sanitation practices. Individuals need to understand the significance of maintaining cleanliness and taking responsibility for their surroundings. Only through a combined effort of the government, citizens, and increased public awareness can we effectively tackle this problem.
Women’s perspective: Urination in the open brings shame
The issue of open urination extends beyond public places in Peshawar, even reaching women’s shopping areas. Women who are affected by this behavior express their concern, emphasizing that it not only reflects an unsightly act but also represents a series of regressive steps in society. Witnessing individuals openly urinating in public, sometimes even exposing themselves indecently, is not only improper but also deeply embarrassing for women. Such acts lead to feelings of shame and lower the dignity of women. It is crucial for men to refrain from engaging in such activities.
It is worth recalling a recent incident in which tensions arose in Shafi Market over a man’s act of urinating in Sadar Bazaar. This incident highlights the urgency of addressing the issue and taking appropriate measures to discourage open urination, ensuring a more respectful and dignified environment for everyone, especially women.
Religious perspective: Prohibition of urinating in corridors
In light of religious teachings, urinating in corridors is considered impermissible. Referring to a narration from Sayyidina Abu Huraira, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) warned against two cursed acts, one of which includes urinating in the pathways or in the shadows of people. This serves as a reminder of the need for ethical conduct and the avoidance of actions that bring humiliation or disrespect.
Mufti Jamaluddin, speaking to TNN, emphasized that Allah has granted human beings superiority over many creatures and has bestowed honor upon them. It is essential for individuals to distance themselves from behaviors that undermine ethical values and lead to disregard in society. From an Islamic perspective, urinating in public corridors is considered an unlawful practice and is strictly prohibited.
Health risks associated with public urination
Public urination poses various health risks, as highlighted by health experts. The foul odor emitted from urine contributes to environmental pollution and creates an unpleasant atmosphere. Many countries consider public urination as a crime due to its negative impact on public health, economy, and tourism.
Health experts explain that urine stains on walls and concrete surfaces are unsightly and difficult to remove. Additionally, if an individual has a urinary tract infection, the bacteria present in their urine can be transmitted to others, leading to illnesses.
When urine is released into the soil, it creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. This becomes particularly concerning as children who play outdoors may come into contact with contaminated soil, either through direct contact or touching objects with their hands or bare feet.
The presence of urea in urine attracts flies, insects, and cockroaches, which can further spread bacteria. These insects have the potential to transmit bacteria to food and water, heightening the risk of contamination and subsequent illnesses.