Public Toilet Construction Pestel

People in developed nations rarely spend time thinking about how or where to relieve themselves. They are able to easily gain access to a private (in the home) or public toilet. Yet in developing countries, such as Haiti, most people do not have indoor toilets and gaining access to a public toilet is extremely difficult.

Like many municipalities in Haiti, Pestel has a very lively (downtown) Au Bas de la Ville, where there is a great mix of residents, workers, students, tourists, and passers-by. Access to sanitary facilities in the downtown area and other public places is a major source of concern. Incivilities resulting from a lack of access to toilets creates tensions in the community among the different populations.

For more than 20 years, various nonprofit organizations and local authorities have expressed their concerns about the lack of access to public toilets in Pestel, Haiti. However, there has not been much traction on this issue. In 2018, Retrouvailles Entre Pestelois (referred to as Retrouvailles) decided to develop a focused project aimed at building public toilets in Pestel and the surrounding sections. 

Having a hygienic environment adapted to meet the basic human excrement needs is a concern for Pestel residents. Pestelois are obliged to travel long distances (to their home or the nearest home) to satisfy their needs. If that is not possible, some relieve themselves in a discrete public area or directly in the sea.

Children, meanwhile, defecate in the open air and their excreta are all over the city. This situation is naturally not without consequences for the health of the population who buys and consumes products exposed to unsanitary conditions and a high probability of microbial contamination thus rendering the food unfit for consumption.

The Saturday market is the only place for all commercial transactions from the Cayemite Islands area to Duchity, not to mention the neighboring Corail. The market of Desriveaux, Bernagousse, the Cayemite Islands, the waiting area of LaFievre are all places where the construction of public toilets is of an unsustainable necessity.

The construction of public toilets near markets is an appropriate solution for improving the working and living conditions of the target populations.

The realization of these public toilets will (i) improve access to the basic urban service that is sanitation, (ii) improve hygiene and de facto the health of populations and (iii) reduce the time of displacement related to the satisfaction of one's needs (in search of appropriate places to relieve oneself.
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Marc Alcegaire 
Mount Vernon, NY

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