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Google launches 'toilet locator' in India

dpa logodpa 23/12/2016

A new Google Maps feature aims to help nearly half of India's 1.2 billion people who do not have toilets at home, helping them find nearly public toilets.

Google has launched a new feature that helps users in India locate the nearest public toilet as part of a government campaign to stop public urination and open defecation.

By typing in the keyword "Swachh Public Toilet" in Google Maps on their smartphones, users can access 5162 toilets in national capital Delhi, as well as its surrounding areas and cities in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

"The initiative is part of the government's Swachh Bharat (Clean India in Hindi) campaign that aims to address problems of open urination and defecation and improve the country's sanitation standards," Google spokesman Gaurav Bhaskar said.

The toilet locator functionality integrated in Google Maps also has features including cleanliness ratings, style of toilet seats and whether the toilet is paid or free.

"The government plans to cover more areas in India with the feature. As and when officials provide us the information, we will update it on Google Maps," he added.

Nearly half of India's 1.2 billion people do not have toilets at home and many people relieve themselves outdoors. Men are often spotted peeing in public places, whereas open defecation is a major problem in rural areas.

In 2014, the government launched the Clean India campaign to end open defecation in five years by building millions of toilets and improving access to sanitation.

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