Plumbing Info

Toilets-on-wheels take to Phnom Penh streets CNN – June 13, 2001

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Authorities in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh have rolled out the city’s first public toilets.

The toilets-on-wheels are being introduced in a bid to discourage residents from relieving themselves on sidewalks and municipal parks.

The first models began roaming the city about two weeks ago and 18 more will be mobilized before the annual water festival brings thousands of overloaded bladders onto the cities streets in November.

Officials say that each day the mobile comfort stations will make conveniently scheduled stops at the city’s busiest districts, stay a while and then move on.

“People normally urinate and defecate in the parks because there are no toilets for them,” the city’s governor Chea Sophara told Reuters.

“Now we have two mobile toilets — two trucks we made ourselves — for the people because we don’t want our beautiful city to smell.”

Sanitation campaign

Tens of thousands of Cambodians travel to Phnom Penh, home to more than a million people, for the annual boat races every year.

After last year’s three-day festival, which takes place on the riverfront across from the royal palace, city residents complained that the area smelled of human excrement.

The mobile toilets are part of Governor Sophara’s sanitation campaign started two years ago.

Among other programs he has launched are schemes to rehabilitate the popular riverfront, landscape public parks, and restore many of the city’s crumbling colonial buildings to their former glory.

Phnom Penh is still struggling to rebuild itself after it was left a virtual ghost town when the Khmer Rouge seized power in 1975.

The guerillas, blamed for the deaths of more than a million Cambodians during their brutal four years in power, forced almost all residents to evacuate the city.

Now that the Khmer Rouge have gone the population is booming once again but the long-neglected infrastructure — such as the city’s road and sewerage system — remains in a poor state of repair.

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