China’s “Toilet Revolution” initiative has provided renovations to over 68,000 public toilets as of last month, setting aside a budget of more than 20 billion yuan ($302,677,200) to build and refurbish over 50,000 more.
China’s “Toilet Revolution” first launched back in 2015 amid various criticisms of potentially hazardous toilets which are affecting the country’s tourism. Now, they’re planning to build another 47,000 toilets and refurbish 17,000 toilets over the next two years in celebration of World Toilet Day on November 19, according to South China Morning Post. Xi Jinping revealed that they will be focusing on fixing public toilets in rural areas in China to improve the quality of life as well as their tourism.
“Toilet issues are not petty matters but an important aspect of improving infrastructure in urban and rural areas,” President Xi added. Local authorities have allotted over 20 billion yuan ($302,677,200) with the central government contributing 1 billion yuan ($151,338,860) budget all for their toilet revolution overhaul project.
However, the problem with China’s public toilets also lie in their crude waste disposal methods, which are often seen in squat toilets. World Toilet Organization project manager Bai Lin mentioned that most public toilets in rural areas don’t even make use of sewage pipelines; rather, waste is “allowed to seep into the ground” instead.
While Bai noted that their toilet coverage is good enough compared to other Asian countries, he stressed that their waste disposal process is still not at par with the international standard. “There is still a yawning gap between China’s strong economic development and people’s standard of living. A beautiful environment and hygienic toilets are essential to a good standard,” Bai added.
Meanwhile, China is also ensuring that finding public toilets are just as much as a relief as using the toilets themselves. According to Shanghaiist, the country has just introduced a mobile app that shows 330,000 nearby public toilets in 2,288 counties all over China. The toilet locator platform was introduced via WeChat and English localization of the mobile app is also on the way.
The Chinese government is planning to continue building and renovating public toilets into the year 2020.