Public toilets become a public issue to lift Hainan civic image
Wei Liucheng, the Party secretary of the province, said the public toilet is a symbol of modern civilization and an important image for future development of the island as an international tourist Mecca.
Haikou, the provincial capital city, will invest nearly 40 million yuan ($ 5.8 million) over the next two years to build more than 200 public toilets, including renovating 22 old public toilets in the downtown area and 30 existing ones in the townships.
Sanya, a tourist resort, will build 134 new toilets.
"There was no toilet in a 20 kilometer scenic area of Sanya before," Chen Weiguang, a local media worker told the Global Times Wednesday, adding that tourists had no choice but to urinate and defecate along the beaches. "But good toilets suddenly appeared during this May holiday."
"A tourist from Dalian complained that she had to find a toilet in Haikou with her nose, because the public toilets there are dirty, smelly and difficult to find," said Chen.
A map of public toilets around the island will be published and offered to citizens and tourists for free.
Local residents applauded the ambitious plan.
"The current number of public toilets is far below the demand. You are lucky to find a toilet in a 10 minute walk, and its service is crap," Du Xiaocheng, a local resident told the Global Times Wednesday.
"The design is not user-friendly as well; most of them lack private space and facilities for special groups of people (such as the disabled)," said Du. "The signs are not easy to recognize either."
"The plan to build good toilets sends a signal that Hainan will enhance the construction of other infrastructure," Nie Shuxiang, another local resident, told the Global Times Wednesday.
He said the price to build the new toilets is not high because the current land price is about four million yuan ($ 439,409) per acre, and one public toilet will take up only 100 square meters.
"There are about 6 million natives in Hainan now. Every citizen contributes 7 yuan ($ 1) so you can enjoy good toilets. I think it’s a worthy thing to do," he added.
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