China to sort out dirty lavatories in ‘national toilet revolution’

Public toilets in China are notorious for being dirty and smelly, even in tourist hotspots such as the Tiananmen Square, in Beijing. Source: Shutterstock

CHINA has installed and upgraded over 50,000 toilets in a nationwide “toilet revolution” to regulate hygiene in public restrooms.

According to a report by the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), the figure makes up 92.7 percent of the official target the government announced for the years of 2014 to 2017.

When it comes to public toilets, China has long suffered a bad reputation. The public facilities are notorious for being dirty and smelly, and are also lacking in sanitation workers, even in tourist hotspots.

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The CNTA had said in 2015 it would make tourists’ restrooms reach three-star standards through innovations in mechanisms and the application of technology.

A report in AFP highlighted what were once open pits with little privacy have been replaced with shiny new toilets.

Facilities tend to be worse in rural areas, where some “were little more than ramshackle shelters surrounded by bunches of cornstalk”, news agency Xinhua reported.

A recent survey also showed over 80 per cent of tourists now find China’s toilets satisfactory, compared to 70 percent in 2015.

Technology is also being used to clamp down on toilet paper thieves who are known to smuggle out rolls of toilet paper from public restrooms.

AFP said popular tourist sites such as the Temple of Heaven and Olympic Green complexes in Beijing had introduced facial recognition technology to foil paper bandits.

The report said all visitors must approach a machine to get their faces scanned before receiving their portion of toilet paper.

By the end of the year, China expects to have added and upgraded up to 71,000 toilets.

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