Forum: Facility's quality and maintenance are key to toilet cleanliness

Singaporeans often visit coffee shops and hawker centres, but dirty public toilets are still a problem in these places.

There is no proof that users' behaviour varies depending on the setting and surroundings of the premises (Coffee shop operators and users play a part to keep toilets clean, Jan 18).

The issue of dirty public toilets in coffee shops and hawker centres is not new. While it is easy to say that every stakeholder, particularly the user, can take ownership to raise the cleanliness and hygiene standards of public toilets, the key to cleanliness lies in the quality and maintenance of the facility.

Coffee shop operators and hawker centre managers ought to follow recommendations from the comprehensive manual, A Guide to Better Public Toilet Design and Maintenance, published by the Restroom Association (Singapore), and which the National Environment Agency website also provides a link to.

If toilet maintenance followed the manual's recommended schedule - cleaning every half an hour during peak hours, and every one or two hours during off-peak periods, with regular replenishment of essential supplies such as soap and toilet paper - we would likely see an immediate marked improvement.

Almost all toilets in Japan are well maintained and kept spotlessly clean, and toiletries are always provided.

We may take years to achieve the high standards of the Japanese.

It is important that the task begins with the right approach and attitude by operators and owners.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi