In celebration of World Toilet Day (wait, what?), China has launched the ‘National Public Toilet Cloud’ which would help locals and visitors find any of the country’s 330,000 public toilets.
A project by China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the platform is available via app and WeChat. To use it, simply scan a QR code and the app will track your location, then give you restroom options near you.
It’ll even show you photos of those public bathrooms, as well info like tissue paper availability, entrance fees, operating hours, and how many squat or pot toilets they have.
The project is part of what China calls a “toilet revolution.” It seeks to increase tourism arrivals by spending more than one billion yuan (US$150 million or AUS$196 million) to build and renovate 68,000 restrooms across the country. Another 64,000 toilets will also be built and renovated from 2018 to 2020.
“It’s all part of a grand plan to entice more foreign visitors, who accounted for nearly 11 percent of economic growth in 2015, according to the National Tourism Administration (NTA), but who made China’s unhygienic restrooms one of their top complaints,” as noted by CityLab.
“The hope is that by 2020, those upgrades could further that growth by 1 percent—a small change until you consider that the total tourism spending for services could reach $1 trillion by then.”
The ‘toilet revolution’ is a welcome development for China, which has had a… shitty reputation for having ill-equipped, unsanitary public bathrooms. Beijing’s 13 million residents, for instance, share a paltry 6,780 public toilets, with many lacking running water and ventilation.
“Chairman Mao never said anything about our toilets, but in the 1950s several leaders had the foresight to realize that we must develop our sanitation,” said Lou Xiaoqi of the Foundation of Civilizational Development in 2002.
“The problem must be solved and Beijing must blaze a trail!”