Google Map now lists over 57,000 public toilets in 2,300 plus cities across India on its platform, giving a major boost to PM Narendra Modi’s flagship project, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The announcement had been made on the eve of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150 birth anniversary.
Users can now type ‘public toilets near me’ on Google Search, Google Assistant or Google Maps and get instant locations of public toilets near their area.
“We believe that making information about public sanitation facilities easily accessible to people is a key element for social good – one that also constitutes the cornerstone of the government’s Swachh Bharat campaign to promote clean habits and hygiene,” said Anal Ghosh, Senior Programme Manager of Google Maps on Tuesday as part of the announcement.
“For this campaign, our product and engineering teams together built a new process to integrate toilet listings into Google Maps seamlessly,” said Ghosh adding that more than 2.5 lakh users are already searching for public toilets every month across Google Search and Google Maps.
The initiative was initially launched in 2016 as a pilot project in three cities, namely, in New Delhi, Bhopal, and Indore as a joint initiative with the Swachh Bharat Mission and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
In addition, the ‘Google My Business” platform has helped the government take ownership of these listings on Google Maps so they could monitor visits, ratings, reviews and more, thereby, gaining insights that could help them take necessary action to maintain and upgrade toilets, the company informed. Moreover, Google Maps’ active Local Guides community continues to share feedback on toilets in their locality.
Last year, Google Maps ran a campaign to spread awareness that resulted in 32,000 reviews, photos, and edits being added to public toilets across India by local guides.
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a flagship initiative of PM Modi’s government, which was launched in 2014 with an aim to clean up the streets, roads, and infrastructure of India’s cities, towns, and rural areas, had been termed as the ‘biggest sanitation movement’ in the world by the World Bank. This initiative has received several acclamations from organisations like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF.
Under the NDA government’s flagship scheme the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ (clean India mission), over 93 per cent of rural households in India now have access to toilets out of which around 96.5 per cent households have used the facility.
PM Modi, in September last year, while launching ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ campaign had said the sanitation coverage in the country has increased from almost 40 per cent to nearly 90 per cent and asserted that the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ is playing a central role in creating a healthy India.