Bengaluru city faces severe challenges in providing sanitation
infrastructure for the urban poor. Similarly, we have villages in North
Karnataka that encounter problems of toilet access and related
challenges. This paper addresses concerns both in city and rural
contexts. We surveyed 400 respondents across 20 slums and 500
respondents in six districts of North Karnataka through survey
instruments and focus group discussions (FGDs) to understand the
problems with respect to toilet access and usage. Open defecation (OD)
prevails in spite of several interventions made. In the urban contexts,
lack of usage was largely due to technical discrepancies, behavioural
concerns, space issue, water scarcity and poor maintenance of toilets.
In the rural contexts, apart from water scarcity, restricted space, poor
maintenance, cultural habits and financial constraints dominated
non-usage of toilets. This paper captures these issues in-depth and
provides some options in technologies and improved governance based on
study findings and review of case studies. In the urban areas too, the
topography of the slum location, operation and maintenance and apt
technology plays an important role while in the rural areas, promoting
education and awareness creates a positive impact on usage of toilets.
Also, institutionalising the process of construction with transparency
and accountability at various stages matters to ensure proper
construction of toilets.
Keywords: toilet access, urban sanitation, rural sanitation
JEL Classification: Q01, Q59, R10, O18