A motorbike rider was moving through the Tejgaon Bus Stand area of the capital. He stopped his motorbike on the roadside and started urinating in full view of the people present there.
There is a public toilet located only one and a half yards away from his location, but the motorbike rider did not seem to mind or care that there are people walking on the sidewalk.
The Dhaka Tribune correspondent asked the man why he urinated in public, but his only explanation was a “sorry” as he left the area.
The behavior of that motorbike rider was not an isolated issue, but a major problem in the many roads and streets throughout Dhaka.
Advocate Muhammad Ullah, a concerned citizen, told the Dhaka Tribune: ‘‘People of Dhaka city are not aware of public hygiene and they do not know the position of the nearby toilets. The habit of public urination poses a serious health hazards to the city dwellers.”
He, however, added that there is a law against public urination, under Section 92 of the Local Government (City Corporation) Act, 2009.
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“Those who urinate on the streets could be prosecuted under this act,” he said.
Section 92 of the act states that any person, without obtaining the permission of the corporation, willingly and purposefully ignores the law and publicly urinates or disposes of faecal matter in public spaces, despite the presence of sewers or drainage systems, or does the same in spaces not allocated for the dumping of such waste, or disposes of their excreta in a manner which may mar the general public spaces, then they will be found guilty of transgressing the law.
Meanwhile, penalty for the infractions, which have not been specifically or clearly mentioned in the act, is a maximum fine of Tk5,000.
If such offenses are repeated, for every subsequent day, the offending party will be fined a maximum of Tk500 in addition to the base fine of Tk5,000.
Public urination and dumping garbage on the streets is further damaging the city environment by increasing pollution.
Commenting on the issue, city dwellers and officials concerned pointed out that around 15 million people call Dhaka home. However, the number of public toilets in this city is not nearly enough for this huge population.
The Dhaka Tribune has found that the two Dhaka City Corporations run 69 public toilets across the city. At least two of these toilets are out of service, 10 are closed and another 10 are in derelict condition.
Chief Estate Officer of Dhaka South City Corporation Mohammed Kamrul Islam Chowdury told the Dhaka Tribune: “I have not heard about any getting fined or being accused in a case for urinating on the street or in an open area.
“However, the mobile court can fine people littering the environment.”