Operators of public toilets and bathhouses in Accra are cashing in on the unavailability of toilet facilities, particularly in slum communities, markets and lorry stations.
The operators of these facilities told The Mirror in an interview on Wednesday that business was very lucrative as they could make as much as GH₵2,000 a day.
When this reporter visited a slum community close to the CMB Market in Accra, she observed there were more than four privately owned bathhouses with washing facilities for people who are interested in using them.
A caretaker of one of the facilities who gave his name as Abu said patronage was very encouraging as it served the over 100 slum dwellers in the area.
“As for this place we do not close, we run a 24-hour service, so the workers work on shift basis. We charge 30 pesewas for the urinal and one Ghana cedi for the use of the toilet facilities and the same price for those who want to use the public bathhouse.” According to him, some slum dwellers often come to wash their clothes at their bathhouses because there is always a regular supply of water and a bucket of water sells at 50 pesewas, and that there is always congestion at the place especially in the morning and evenings.
Another caretaker at a slum community in Agbogbloshie, who gave his name as Abdul, said patronage was very encouraging.
“There is a growing community here and they patronise our services. More than 100 people visit the facility, and some of the traders who do their business here also come to use the facilities. We open every day at 4:00 a:m., and close after 10:00 p:m.,” he mentioned.
The story was not different from another facility located at a slum community around the Accra railway line.
Kofi Razak who operates the said facility said he recorded high patronage from the slum dwellers and traders who plied their trade in the area.
“We charge 30 pesewas for the urinal, one cedi for the public bathhouse and the same for the toilet facilities. We also operate on a 24- hour basis, in the morning, there is a queue here at the public bathhouse,” he stated.
A cashier at AD Company, Bennett Ampadu, who is an operator of a private washroom facility at the Kaneshie Market also shared similar sentiments.
“The business is very good, patronage has been very encouraging. We use an average of 30 toilet rolls a day. We have VIP toilet facilities which are fully air-conditioned and to access that service you have to pay four cedis If you want to use the standard toilet facility, you have to pay one cedi and 50 pesewas for the urinal. We have a staff of 50 people who work on a shift basis. Some users complain about our charges but it is because of the quality of service we offer here. The facility is one of the neatest in this area,” he indicated.
At another facility at the central business district, the caretaker, Godfred Nazure, said patronage had been very encouraging since they commenced business three months ago.
“We ensure that the place is very neat, we see not less than 100 users a day. The Municipal Assembly comes here to monitor our operations, we pay some levies to them as well. We start business at 2:00 a:m., and close at 10:00 p:m., sometimes after 10 p.m. people come in and we have to attend to them.”
“We place air fresheners in all the washrooms to make the place smell good and there are dustbins also placed at vantage points. We advise users to always put used toilet rolls in the bins provided and also refrain from spitting around. We always want the environment to be very neat always,” he added”.
Some slum dwellers and traders who spoke to The Mirror expressed worry about the insanitary conditions at some of the facilities.
Adwoa who trades in one of the markets complained about the poor state of the water closets and sinks.
“The WCs are old, I wonder if they do a proper disinfection, at the urinal there is always a foul smell. All they care about is the money, they should keep the facilities clean because we pay to use the service,” she stated.