A ‘toilet revolution’ in rural China
60%: clean toilet coverage in rural China.
The Chinese government has declared a war on filthy toilets, upgrading loos in rural households in what it calls a “toilet revolution.”
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Today, more than 60% of China’s rural population has access to “hazard-free” toilets, up from 45% in 2010, according to government data.
Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the campaign in 2015 to improve the hygiene of public toilets, a source of horror stories familiar to anyone who’s used one just a decade ago.
The program targeted public toilets at tourist sites at first, and was later expanded to cover household toilets in rural areas.
Many rural households in China use pit latrines, due to a lack of sanitation infrastructure in poorer regions and also the need to use human feces as fertilizer.
Authorities say they are building more waste disposal facilities and persuading rural residents to adopt sanitary toilets that could decompose human waste and prevent the spread of disease.
Under the campaign, local officials have since 2018 renovated millions of toilets. In the northern province of Shandong, for example, more than 10 million households had their toilets renovated by June 2020.
But in some cases, villagers have complained they were forced to have their existing pit toilets dismantled or pay a hefty renovation fee, according to state media reports. Some other new toilets were not connected with water and electricity, and had been sitting idle for years.
In a June notice, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs warned local officials against forcing residents into renovating their toilets just to boost the government’s “sanitary toilet” numbers.
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