The District 1 People’s Committee in Ho Chi Minh City has recently released a list of 100 restaurants and coffee shops that provide free toilet services to residents and tourists, the Tuoi Tre Newspaper reported.
The district has also chosen five locations to build public restrooms, as announced during a meeting on Sunday regarding the public bathroom system between Nguyen Van Nen, Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, and the District 1 People’s Committee.
Le Duc Thanh, chairman of District 1, stated that there are currently 18 public restroom points at 13 public places in the district, including four markets, seven parks, one bus stop, and a residential area. Despite having numerous restaurants, hotels, and shopping centers, the district is struggling to build new public bathrooms due to the limited land bank in District 1.
The district has been urging businesses and service providers to offer free restroom access since 2017, but many restrooms fail to meet proper sanitation standards, and people are hesitant to use free facilities. However, 100 restaurants and coffee shops have put up “free-of-charge toilet” signs.
The District 1 People’s Committee has proposed a plan to construct five makeshift bathrooms funded by the city’s budget. The proposed restrooms will be located on Nguyen Hue, Le Duan, Hai Ba Trung, and Nguyen Trung Truc Streets. However, finding a location for new public toilets is a significant challenge, and the district has requested permission to use part of some land lots allocated for other projects. The vice-chairman of District 1, Vu Nguyen Quang Vinh, revealed that although investors are interested in constructing bathrooms, they want the district authorities to guarantee the capital recoupment period, along with their advertising and business operations.
The cost of building each public toilet is expected to be around VND550 million (approximately US$23,330), with a monthly operating cost of at least VND36 million ($1,520). The district will need to allocate approximately VND2.5 billion ($106,000) in total to build the five new restrooms.
Ho Chi Minh City is currently facing a severe shortage of public restrooms, with only 200 public restrooms available. The city is ranked 67th out of 69 tourism cities worldwide in terms of poor public toilets, according to a report released by QS Supplies, a toilet trading company, in early February.