Mumbai: Bio-toilets near Gateway of India shut after wind, waves slam it leaving debris on road

Updated: Jun 15, 2019, 08:32 IST | Hemal Ashar |

That is the question as three bio-toilets near Gateway shut after wind and waves slam into them; stones, clothes, debris wash up on road

Waves rise up behind the toilets, ready to slam over them
Waves rise up behind the toilets, ready to slam over them

Winds came at Formula One speed on Thursday evening, leaving the road from the Gateway of India to the Radio Club promenade at Colaba chock-a-block, with tourists and some locals leaning over the parapet and shrieking as the waves drenched them.

Three e-toilets or bio toilets installed at the seafront by Lions Club in September 2018 were not having such a good time though. They stood valiantly against the wind, lashed by waves only a little lower than a lamppost next to them. But, the three unisex stalls were closed. An attendant's chair between two of them was unoccupied.

A local who was guiding a number of cars to parking spots at the front pointed to the high waves rising up behind the toilets, and said, "Who can sit on that chair? These toilets have been closed and the attendant has been absent since the rains have come."

Even as he spoke, yet another wave rose and slammed on to the road beyond the toilets. With it, came stones and some clothes, too. A pair of jeans washed up on the road. Locals were heard warning people to move out of the way, or get hit by the stones. A car driver ran to his vehicle and drove away, fearing the windows will crack because of the stones.

Local ire
It is we-told-you-so time for Colaba residents, many of whom had warned the civic authorities about installing toilets at this place. Colaba resident Ajay Multani said, "The location was wrong from the very beginning. It was an eyesore and of course this season will now make it worse." Pervez Cooper, another resident, said angrily, "Let the monsoon gain momentum and when the winds truly pick up, we will see these stalls being blown away altogether."

For local Meher Sanjana, "This comes as no surprise. We had warned earlier that the monsoon means mayhem with waves and winds. It is as if the citizen's voice counts for nothing."

BMC says
An A ward officer said, "These toilets have been closed. The attendant has been removed from there. They were installed by the Lions Club. This is a high urination spot and they were needed here. We are going to instruct Lions Club to construct a retaining wall behind. It should happen in a couple of days."

Citizens say that toilets already exist near Gateway of India and at Radio Club. These could have been installed elsewhere. They scoffed at the retaining wall idea saying that, "The toilets have already defaced a heritage precinct, and the wall will compound this atrocity. These ideas should be blown away, just like the gusty winds blowing away everything in their path on high tide days."  

What are bio toilets?

Bio toilets disintegrate and decompose human waste into water and biogas. The decomposition is carried out by bacteria in the bio-digestion tank. They are environment friendly and reduce water consumption.

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