Public Toilets and Sanitation


Public toilets are an important amenity for slum-dwellers, the homeless and those working in the informal sector – people who often do not have access to private sanitation, either at home, or at their workplace. They are also important for the general population, especially women. Despite this, there are only 714 public toilets in the city, a number that is hopelessly inadequate for a population of about 65 lakh. The Corporation of Chennai is responsible for public health, sanitation and conservancy services in the city, and either constructs and maintains public toilets or contracts out its work.

Our work on sanitation involves collecting data on the number and location of public toilets in the city. We also attempt to understand the roles and responsibilities of the various government officials, departments and boards in constructing, maintaining and operating a toilet. This gives us data on how public toilets are planned and sanctioned; and on whom to hold accountable when they stop working. Our work on public toilets in the city has been covered extensively by online sanitation portals and leading newspapers. We also look at the governance of underground sewerage networks, the means through which they are planned and built, and the means through which people access sanitation in the city.


Key Research

Materials for Public Meetings

Chennai's Public Toilet Challenge: Insights from Research (2109)
Chennai's Public Toilet Challenge (1674)


Public Sanitation Management Models: Providing Toilets For The Urban Poor In Chennai (10471)
Chennai's Public Sanitation challenge (2511)
Urban sanitation in Tamil Nadu A Report on Public Conveniences (2034)
Public toilets in Chennai (1828)
Findings from Survey of Public Toilet Infrastructure and Services (1886)
Findings from Survey of Public Toilet Infrastructure and Services (Ward 120 and 121) (2900)
Poster on ratio of population to toilet seat (1371)


Master Data Sheet Public Toilets (2013) (1590)

Related Blogs More >>
June 13, 2013 by

Transparent Chennai held a community meeting with slum dwellers on 4th June at Sivarajapuram, a declared slum off Dr. Besant Road in Triplicane. The purpose of the community meeting was to engage residents in a participatory process to identify their … Continue reading

March 20, 2013 by

The objective of our work on public sanitation is to improve access to improved public toilets so mapping the location of existing toilets is only the first step; we have to create a system that will both inform users of … Continue reading

March 14, 2013 by

Among the most exciting aspects of Transparent Chennai is that we actually create data and maps. We work with citizens to collect data using paper maps and then digitise them using GIS software that allows one to represent data spatially. … Continue reading

Press Events More >>
May 22, 2013

Source: Author: Download here: Description: A newspaper article citing Transparent Chennai’s work on public toilets

March 8, 2013

The urgent need to address the problem of inadequate public sanitation facilities in Chennai is being taken up by mainstream media. The Hindu cites Transparent Chennai’s research on public toilets in the city.

March 8, 2013

In contrast to recent media reports of demands to demolish public toilets in the city allegedly because they were not being used, the Times of India recently announced that the Corporation of Chennai was going to install 5000 new portable … Continue reading