The Surakarta city administration has promoted the presence of communal toilets over the past five years in a bid to help improve sanitation among city residents.
The presence of communal toilets has been focused in densely populated areas such as Sangkrah, Pasar Kliwon district and Kratonan, Serengan district.
This is one of the reasons Surakarta has been chosen to host the 13th World Toilet Summit, an event to be held for the first time in Indonesia, in October next year.
Preparations for the international event, which focuses on environmental sanitation, have been carried out earlier so they can be included in the deliberation of the General Budget Policy (KUA) and the Surakarta Municipal Temporary Budget Ceiling and Priority (PPAS).
“The event, which will be attended by 62 countries, should be prepared thoroughly, including the addition of a number of public bathrooms in Surakarta,” People’s Welfare and Economic Development assistant Eny Tyasni Suzana said at City Hall on Monday.
The Surakarta municipality will also build additional public bathrooms on the City Walk, along Jl. Slamet Riyadi, Gladag Langen Bogan, Kampung Batik Laweyan and other tourist areas in the city. They will be realized by next year.
Funds will be jointly derived from the municipal budget and private sector, such as corporate social responsibility funds from companies located in the designated locations.
“We picked Surakarta because we have seen many examples in the city regarding the presence of public communal toilets,” said Indonesian Toilet Association (ITA) head Naning S. Adiwoso in a meeting with Surakarta Mayor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo at City Hall recently.
ITA has conducted a number of surveys and found that the condition of communal toilets in Surakarta could serve as a reference and model for environmental sanitation awareness. Naning said the matter was closely related to the municipality’s target to turn the city into a meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE) city.
Residents living in densely populated cities often forget the importance of sanitation, including Surakarta, where defecating in the open is commonplace. Other cities can emulate Surakarta’s model if residents maintain environmental sanitation.