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Chhimi Dema and Tandin Phuntsho 

Toilets in Bhutan started with a small opening on the second floor with faeces landing on the ground floor where pigs were reared.

Bhutan has come far from open defecation and pit toilets to modern flush and squat toilets.

Around the world, people rethinking the ways of toilets in times of the pandemic, toilets with sensor taps and no door handles are introduced.

In Thimphu, doma stains on the sink and wall, faeces not flushed in the toilets and wet floors-one cannot make the difference between the water and urine. That was the state of public toilets a few years ago. Toilet etiquette has come a long way today, health officials said.

Pavi Maya, a cleaner of a public toilet in Thimphu, said that only two from 10 individual don’t flush the toilets.

“Now people use the facility well. Once I had to clean faeces off the floor,” said Pavi Maya.

Tirta Kumar, who operates toilets at the Centenary Farmers’ Market, said that most people flush after using the facility.

“Once in a while, I have to clean doma spit and sanitary pads from the cistern,” Tirta said. “We are human as well. We cannot bear the foul smell but this is how we earn our living.”

Having a toilet is not enough, the facility should include running water to flush and wash.

Some public toilets remain unclean. Tiles, floor and toilet seats are dirty. Cigarette buds, match sticks, used toilet papers, plastic wrappers and pet bottles are seen scattered on the floor.

Glistering toilet with dry clean floors may be too much to ask. But cleaners should maintain the toilets to compensate for the minimal fee one pays.

Toilet etiquette plays a role to create a safer and cleaner environment in a community. Has Bhutanese’s toilet etiquette improved over the years? The answer lies within one’s toilet etiquette.

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