Dubai: A lack of public toilets has resulted in commuters and workers having to relieve themselves in the open much to the dismay of residents living in Bur Dubai and Deira. (Watch Video)

Residents said that the situation becomes all the more unbearable late in the evening when they find men urinating on walls or in backyards.

Gulf News has received complaints from residents, who say the available public toilets located in heavily congested areas are few in number and are poorly maintained.

The situation turns all the more grim for sewage tanker operators who are forced to wait in long queues for over 24 hours to get to the sewage treatment plant in Aweer.

Disgusted residents complain that they have brought the problem to the notice of the civic authorities, but nothing had been done about it.

No facilities

The labourers, on the other hand, express helplessness saying they have no choice but to relieve themselves in the open as the toilets provided at construction sites or in accommodations are insufficient.

"I share a room with eight other people with a single toilet facility. So some of us go out looking for open areas to relieve ourselves. We get up at the crack of dawn when there are hardly any people on the streets and there is not much fear of getting caught by the police," said Cheng, a Chinese labourer.

Mizaffar, a Pakistani labourer, said he was not bothered about keeping the city clean. "I work at a construction site located nearby. If I want to relieve myself do you think I will go searching for a proper toilet or think of the environment? At times people give me angry looks - some even curse me, but I just don't care and go ahead."

A resident who lives in one of the buildings close to the cemetery in Bur Dubai, said it has become impossible to open the window in the evenings as the stench is unbearable.

The resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "Once my husband drove out a couple of people who came to the area to relieve themselves. But that did not help. In the evening we found labourers standing next to one relieving themselves in the area. Such scenes are common when travelling by train in Mumbai, but not in the UAE.'

A. Nair, who lives in Karama, said: "Three days ago I was walking through one of the lanes in the area and the place was stinking.

"I found out that a portable toilet kept in the area was the root of the problem."

Reaction: New facilities in pipeline

Around 100 high-tech public toilets are to be built in Dubai by Dubai Municipality in cooperation with Med K&K Advertising and Marketing Company as part of a public private joint venture.

These air-conditioned toilets will have facilities like an automatic sensing system for flushing, sanitised liquid, tissue paper, hand driers and automatic doors.

The company will invest Dh50 million to build the toilets on a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) basis with a 10-year contract with the municipality. People will have to pay Dh2 to use the toilet, which will have automatic doors that will open once the coins are inserted. The existing free public toilets managed by the Dubai Municipality will continue to serve people.

However, major road and bridge construction projects might delay the building of these high-tech toilets.

Have you ever faced difficulties when looking for a public toilet? What would you do if you could not find one? Fill in the form bellow to send your comments.

Your comments

There are times when families look for toilets to relieve themselves, but they are unable to find.
Posted: January 11, 2009, 13:26

Dh 2 to use a public toilet is too high of a price.
Posted: January 11, 2009, 13:21

It is strange that in such a highly developed country there is lack of restrooms.
Posted: January 11, 2009, 12:19

I don't think these projects for high-tech toilets will resolve the issue. Knowing that the public needs to pay Dh 2 to use it. It may be a small amount for some but for low wage earners like the labourers and others it's a ridiculous waste of money.
Posted: January 11, 2009, 12:11

The public are facing a lot of trouble in finding proper clean public toilets.
Posted: January 11, 2009, 12:11

The building of these high-tech toilets will be benifitial for the country, but the sooner they do it the better for everyone,
Pankaj Kumar
Posted: January 11, 2009, 12:10

I usually wait till I find the nearest petrol station. Thier toilets are pretty clean.
A Reader
Posted: January 11, 2009, 12:03

Public Toilet systems are not maintained well.
Jacob John
Posted: January 11, 2009, 12:01

It is a very important topic. The departments incharge should understand the needs of the public. Last weekend I was passing by the bus station in Bur Dubai and I was surprised by the long line infront of the station's toilet.
Posted: January 11, 2009, 11:35

Yes, I faced the problem of not being able to find a public toilet many times. I usually look for the nearest petrol station, but with the traffic sometimes that's hard to get to too.
Posted: January 11, 2009, 11:22

It is a very serious issues at Gold Souk and the Bur Dubai bus station on Fridays.
Posted: January 11, 2009, 11:12

I recently had a toilet emergency and becuase there werent any public toilets nearby, I had to park my car on the side of the road where parking was not allowed. I came back to find a fine of Dh 200.
Tony John
Posted: January 11, 2009, 11:10

It is time that the concerned authorities built public toilets all over the place. It is indeed an ordeal to find a decent toilets in Dubai. I am from Hyderabad India and on many occassions I had horrible experiences locating a public toilet. In my city, there are pay-and-use public toilets which are very well maintained. Also, the authorities have a novel idea of renting the place for advertising. Moreover, one can easily find a public toilet at every 500 yards in the city.
Hyder Jafaar
Posted: January 11, 2009, 10:55

I make sure I go to the toilet before I leave the house or the office. Incase this happens to me, I go to the nearest mall or supermarket to visit the toilet.
Al Ain,UAE
Posted: January 11, 2009, 09:49

I usually go looking for a toilet in malls but it is hard to do that early in the morning. Authorities should have pay toilets which can be used twenty four hours a day.
Sachin Sakpal
Posted: January 11, 2009, 09:03

Usually during the weekends, whether bus station are full of passengers or not, the public toilets in the bus station are always full. Mostly these toilets have separate rooms and very minimal individual basins. If this ratio can be changed a bit, probably better space utilisation can be done.
Prakash Kothivi
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: January 11, 2009, 08:52

I was surprised to see that in UAE, there is a lack of public toilets in bus stations. If you have access to a vehicle, you can always go and find the toilet in the nearest shopping mall. What about low income labourers to take a taxi to find a toilet or even pay Dh 2 for using a toilet as most of them spend as little as an amount like this for their food for the whole day. The solution is to provide more free public toilets and to make it mandatory for construction sites to provide and ensure proper usage of portable toilets. Residential areas are to be strictly monitored and anyone relieving in these areas should be caught and punished
Posted: January 11, 2009, 08:47

These public toilets are in bad conditions. Even the ones in hospitals.
From a reader
Posted: January 11, 2009, 08:40

Dh 2 for relieving yourself is a high price.
Posted: January 11, 2009, 08:40

There is a shortage of public toilets in Abu Dhabi too.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: January 11, 2009, 08:28

We are all human beings and this is a basic need. Authorities should provide sufficient toilets on a humanitarian basis.
Posted: January 11, 2009, 07:33

I agree that there are no enough public toilets.
Ashish Paudel
Posted: January 11, 2009, 01:03