Zhejiang province is extending its so-called toilet revolution from tourism attractions in urban areas to its vast array of villages in a bid to improve local farmers’ quality of life and draw more tourists to its rural areas.
Clean toilets are an important element of urban and rural civilization, and more efforts should be made in both cities and rural areas to upgrade toilets, President Xi Jinping said in November.
In 2017, Zhejiang invested 630 million yuan ($94.5 million) on upgrading public toilets in rural areas. It was estimated that 50,000 toilets will be upgraded by the end of this year in the province, greatly improving sanitary conditions in rural areas.
Shaoxing, for example, has built or upgraded 16,000 toilets in rural areas in recent years, with a combined investment of 107 million yuan.
Chun’an, a scenic county featuring Thousand Islands Lake and bamboo forests, built 33 new toilets, rebuilt 66 and upgraded around 800 toilets at tourist sites and in rural areas, investing more than 10 million yuan over the past two years.
“What impresses me most is that over the past two years, wherever I travel, either inside or outside Hangzhou, the public toilets have been so clean, despite the heavy tourist flow. And public toilets can be spotted within a walking distance wherever I go nowadays,” said Bao Xinhui, a 19-year-old student from Hangzhou.
To further push ahead the long-term management of rural household wastewater and garbage disposal in a clean and green way, Zhejiang is also working on local legislation covering the daily operation, maintenance and management of public toilets in rural areas.
“The upgrading of public toilets in rural Zhejiang will contribute greatly to improving the living conditions of the rural population, thus building a beautiful countryside in the province,” said an official who deals with county and township affairs under the Zhejiang Department of Construction.
China’s toilet revolution began in 2015 as an attempt to improve the cleanliness and management of the worst facilities across the country. More than 30,000 new toilets were built and around 25,000 were renovated between 2015 and 2017.