Can you imagine that in the vast Gobi Desert in northwest China, you can connect to Wi-Fi networks in public toilets? This is one of the achievements of China’s burgeoning “toilet revolution.” Since 2015, local governments have invested nearly 20 billion yuan on building new public toilets and renovating old ones. Improvement has been made not only in terms of quantity, but also in quality, with the toilets’ exterior and interior facilities all upgraded.
Today, nursing lounges, barrier-free facilities and children’s toilet seats are becoming more common in China. A small but growing number of public toilets even have Wi-Fi networks, electric vehicle charging piles, ATMs and first-aid kits, among other facilities that may go beyond your expectations.
What’s more, China’s public toilets are beginning to show consideration for people with special needs. Besides rooms for men and women, China now has some unisex toilets, which enable people with disabilities to receive help from a family member of another gender without causing embarrassment.
New technologies are also being utilized. In the Laoshan Mountain Scenic Area in Qingdao, Shandong Province, public toilets are equipped with smart devices that can monitor the waiting queue and adjust the allocation of rooms for men and women in a timely manner. A recently-released app, “National Public Toilet Cloud,” collects information about public toilets across the country and helps users find the nearest one with the assistance of navigation apps.
The countryside is another battlefield of the “toilet revolution.” Presently, sanitary toilets are available in nearly 85 percent of rural areas. A renovation project aimed at expanding the number of these facilities is mostly funded by local governments. For instance, in Shandong Province, subsidies have been offered to millions of rural households, so it cost farmers very little to have their makeshift toilets turned into sanitary ones.
Toilets may seem to be a trivial issue, but they have a direct bearing on common people’s happiness. They’re also the first impression a tourist gets of a new place. Every year, approximately 4.5 billion Chinese and foreign tourists travel around the country. Suppose each of them goes to the toilet eight times during their journey on average, and they will use the toilet 36 billion times altogether. Despite this huge figure, China is trying its best to ensure that its basic amenities are satisfactory, and hopes that all tourists can return home with a good memory.
China launches a “toilet revolution”
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