x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Lack of public rest-rooms in Abu Dhabi poses a problem

A lack of public rest-rooms in the city is causing a problem for tourists and residents who have to pay a visit to malls or restaurants when nature calls.

Many of the automated toilets that were set up are out of order, with posters pasted across the exteriors, advertising services and bachelor accommodation.Ravindranath K / The National
Many of the automated toilets that were set up are out of order, with posters pasted across the exteriors, advertising services and bachelor accommodation.Ravindranath K / The National

ABU DHABI // A lack of public rest-rooms in the city is causing a problem for tourists and residents who have to pay a visit to malls or restaurants when nature calls.

In 2007, the municipality announced it would install about 60 automated toilets across the capital, but the project stalled after only a few were put in place.

Many of those provided are out of order, with posters pasted across the exteriors, advertising services and bachelor accommodation.

A quick tour of some of the key sites - on Electra Street near the old Etisalat building, in front of the taxi stand at the bus station and behind Abu Dhabi Municipality - revealed all were out of order.

The lack of facilities particularly affects workers in small shops and catering companies.

Imran, who runs a tobacco shop beside the automated toilet on Electra, said the facility had worked for only a few months after it opened.

There is a toilet in his shop's building but it is accessible only to those who know the security guard.

"We have to take keys from the guard," said Imran. "If he's not there, we rush to mosques."

Tafazzul Hussain, who works delivering food for a catering company in Abu Dhabi, would like to see public facilities available to everyone, even if users have to pay.

The municipality said it was not responsible for the automated toilets, only for those in public parks.

anwar@thenational.ae