Let 70,000 toilets bloom

China is making a final push in its "toilet revolution".

These newly built toilets at a park in Anlong County in Guizhou province are part of the 70,000 toilets that the country expects to have added or upgraded by the end of this year.

China's President Xi Jinping has ordered the country to march on in its revolution to clean up notoriously dirty and foul-smelling public bathrooms in a bid to improve quality of life and boost tourism.

The so-dubbed "toilet revolution" was launched in 2015 as part of efforts to make restrooms - often squat toilets with no paper - more tourist-friendly.

Much of the problem remains in rural areas. Rural toilets are usually a hole in the ground with two planks, said the South China Morning Post, and farmers collect human waste for composting to fertilise crops. Flush toilets deprive them of composting material and septic tanks require extra cost to maintain.

Public bathrooms in China have also been known to be bereft of toilet paper, thanks to enterprising crooks sneaking out entire rolls for their personal use. In some places, facial recognition is now employed to limit individual toilet paper portions.

Chinese netizens applauded the movement on microblogging site Weibo.

"Support the toilet revolution," one user wrote. "Seriously, whether it's in a city or the countryside, when nature calls, it's always a hassle to find a decent bathroom."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2017, with the headline 'Let 70,000 toilets bloom'. Print Edition | Subscribe