Are mirrors scaring away men who pee in public?

Are mirrors scaring away men who pee in public?

BBMP initiative to promote cleanliness, though novel, isn’t as effective as it is touted to be. A Metrolife trip across the city finds many flaws

In an effort to stop men from urinating against walls in public places, the BBMP came up with the idea of installing mirrors.

That’s how you see large mirrors at five spots — Church Street, Indiranagar,  Queens Road, KR Market and Koramangala.

The initiative is expected to work on two levels. One: Those looking to relieve themselves on a public wall see themselves and decide otherwise. Two: The mirrors have a QR code which, when scanned, lead you to the nearest public washroom. 

Metrolife visited four of five locations to see whether the mirrors achieve their purpose. 

The mirrors near the ESI Hospital in Indiranagar and KR Market are difficult to locate. With no directions anywhere, we looked around and finally found a hospital wall with a mirror.

At KR Market, it was a tougher search. Despite walking around both inside and outside the market and asking vendors, we just weren’t able to find the mirror. Most people helpfully pointed us to the nearest toilets.  

The one on the walls of the ESI Hospital in Indiranagar led the
Android phone to a toilet that was 8.1 km away and the iOS phone
to one that was 1 km away. The mirror, part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan,
was placed next to a garbage dump. 
Metrolife also saw two people relieving themselves not
more just 200 metres away from the installation. 

The one on Queen’s Road is located on the wall of The New Indian Express office, which is an odd location.

The mirror is located next to the security guard’s booth, making it one where people, by default, would not urinate. This is also the case on Church Street, with the mirror being placed on the wall of restaurant Coconut Grove. 

Using the QR code to locate public loos also proved difficult.

The code directs iPhone users and Android users to different locations, with the suggestions given to the latter being unreasonably far. 

On Queen’s Road, when we followed the directions on the iPhone, we ended up at a toilet near Shivajinagar.

Interestingly enough, on the way, we spotted a toilet that was much closer. 

Is it doing its job?

As a deterrent, the mirrors don’t work. They are few and far between, and people can simply move a couple of extra steps and do the deed. Metrolife found the mirrors a novel initiative, but they aren’t helping solve the problem of men urinating in public.

State of public toilets

There are not enough washrooms in Bengaluru to make this initiative a success. The ones that exist are badly maintained, deterring people from using them, regardless of whether they access it through the BBMP app, QR code or Google.

The QR code option is designed to take the user to ‘Public washrooms near me’ rather than washrooms near the mirror. The results may not be too useful if you keep your GPS location off: the suggestions most likely go by the tower location.

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