Advocates: Don't Blame Law For Street Toilet Troubles
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 21, 2006
LONDON, ENGLAND--Londoners are having to deal with a smelly, sticky situation -- a problem some have reportedly tried to blame on a law designed to protect people with disabilities.
It was revealed during a conference this week that London's street cleaners are having to wash two million pints of urine off the streets each year. You don't want to know what else they're having to wash away.
The problem has worsened in recent years because many councils have closed public toilets, leaving some members of the public -- mostly late night pub patrons -- to go wherever they can, often in the street or on the sidewalk.
"After closing time, many revelers simply can't find a loo to use," said Alan Woods, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, which organized the conference with the British Toilet Association.
During the conference, attendees were told that 20 percent of public restrooms had been closed because making them accessible under the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act would prove too costly.
The disability charity Scope responded immediately by saying the statement proved discrimination is still common in British society.
"We believe the real reason many public toilets are closing is because local authorities have failed to keep them up to the standard that any reasonable person would expect," said Richard Parnell, Scope's head of research, politics and policy. "The DDA is in place to ensure that disabled people are regarded and treated as equal citizens. If this means making public toilets fully accessible for everyone that can only be regarded as a good thing."
"The fact that the necessary resources have not followed the Act to ensure that this is the case is not the fault of disabled people but society."
"Shortage of public lavatories proving a 'nightmare' for UK's street cleaners" (24dash.com)
"'Disabled to blame' for closure of London's public toilets" (24dash.com)