Positive restroom culture

Public education, building owners' commitment essential

In 2008, the Restroom Association (Singapore) formed an inter-agency working committee consisting of members from government agencies and private organisations, including the Building and Construction Authority and SPD ("Nasty encounters at toilets for those with disabilities" by Ms Tan Lan Eng; last Thursday).

The key purpose is to promote better toilets for everyone, including those with disabilities, and to educate socially responsible users.

The SPD was invited to join the committee to share challenges faced by people with disabilities and further propose solutions to tackle such challenges.

Over the years, we have witnessed the commitment displayed by building owners, in terms of providing good design of accessible toilets or toilets for people with disabilities.

Last year, Jurong Point shopping centre was one of the buildings where committed owners went the extra mile to implement a card access system specifically for those with disabilities.

We fully empathise with the predicament of people with disabilities when using public toilets, and we will continue to work with building owners to take effective measures to address these perennial inconveniences caused by the public.

Sadly, public awareness needs to be constantly generated, and we will work with schools to design posters, decals or signs to remind the public that accessible toilets are reserved for those with disabilities.

We acknowledge that normal users, especially the aged, who are in urgent need of public toilets, will inevitably use the accessible toilets due to long queues at the main toilets.

Therefore, we are actively encouraging building owners to provide more toilets for women, to prevent long queues, and, thus, effectively prevent normal users from using accessible toilets.

We hope that with continued public education and strong building-owner commitment, we can foster a gracious society embracing excellence in restroom culture.

Emerson Hee

Executive Director

Restroom Association (Singapore)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2016, with the headline 'Public education, building owners' commitment essential'. Print Edition | Subscribe