Is free access to toilets a fundamental right?

The health argument

Who wants to develop cystitis because they don’t have change (or a bank card)? La France insoumise emphasizes that free access to clean toilets should be a right for everyone. In addition to homeless people and workers mobile (drivers, delivery people, etc.), those affected by certain chronic pathologies and women when they are menstruating need access to public toilets without spending 1 euro.

The argument of living together

We recognize them by their panicked appearance: tourists and revelers in the early hours are heavily addicted to toilets. Pengers on suburban trains, lacking toilets, are forced to use the (rare) ones in the stations. But what happens if you can’t pay for access to the toilet? We do what we can. Results: streets, parks, metro corridors and parking lots soiled (overwhelmingly by men).

The economic argument

We know that, on average, a French person uses the toilet four times a day. Let’s take a bicycle delivery person, without access to free toilets: he must therefore pay at least 2 euros, or even more if he uses the toilets of a café or restaurant of which he is not a customer. That’s several dozen euros per month! It’s too much. As for the cities that charge for their Sanisettes, they do not benefit from it: public toilets have never been profitable.

The health counter-argument

In Paris, “the leading city in the world in terms of public sanitary facilities”, public toilets had to be paid for until 2006. The move to free toilets did not encourage Parisians to use them more. One of the causes: “The smell and the sharpness do not have the reputation of achieving perfection”, noted, in 2009, Julien Damon, sociologist specializing in the issue. However, maintaining immaculate toilets requires staff (which is not free).

The counter-argument of living together

THE “right to the toilet” does not exist. To be an adult is to plan. Today, in France, 99.3% of households have individual toilets. Businesses, factories, shopping centers, libraries… All public places have them. You just need to organize yourself so as not to find yourself in difficulty.

The economic counterargument

This free service has a cost for the cities: “Eleven million euros per year, or around 5 euros per inhabitant” in Paris, specified in World Julian Damon, June 2. As for cafes and restaurants, these are not public services. They are obliged to be provided with toilets for their customers, but, for the rest, it is not up to them to ume the costs (toilet paper, cleaning, etc.) of the entire population without a fixed toilet.

Zineb Dryef

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