China Does A New Take On Public Restrooms

How do you celebrate World Toilet Day in China? By rolling out new public restrooms, of course. Forget everything you know about public restrooms, because China has designed what it hopes is the restroom of the future. (At least in China.)

Sure, the new public restrooms contain sinks and toilets, but why stop there? Need cash? Use the ATM. Stressed out? Listen to a little Enya. On a road trip? Empty the trash from your car into the recycling containers you’ll find in the public restroom. And speaking of road trips, you probably aren’t the only one who needs a little break. Plug in your electric car into one of the charging stations while you relax, refresh and hit the vending machines inside. When you get into the stall, flip on the flat-screen TV and catch up on the day’s news or your favorite TV program. It’s all there, just waiting for you!

While this all sounds a little opulent, it’s also environmentally conscious … sort of. The toilets use wastewater from the sink for flushing, separate urine from solid waste at the toilet, and the bathrooms aren’t connected to a sewage system, per se. They have their own septic tanks, which will be pumped out weekly.

This public restroom design is a go. The Chinese government says it plans to install nearly 60,000 carbon copies of this setup around the country in the next three years. What’s the rush? China is hoping to capitalize on Western tourism leading up to and following the Olympics. China hosted the Olympics in 2008 and has won the right to host The Games again in 2022. Taking a lesson from the most recent Olympics in Sochi, when host country Russia took it on the chin for its bathrooms, China is getting its public restrooms in order before inviting the world over for some fun!

The Internet hasn’t been left out of this arrangement. There are tentative plans to use public restrooms as a “depot” of sorts for package delivery. It works like this: order something online. The retailer delivers it to a designated locker in a convenient public restroom, where the buyer retrieves it.

China’s new public restroom model has a little something for everyone. In more rural areas of the country, where power could be a problem, public restrooms can be outfitted with solar panels. Better still, the solid waste will be treated onsite and made safe enough for local farmers to use it for fertilizer.

The latest public restroom design in China is just one of many steps the country has taken to improve its sanitation. In the last quarter-century, China has upgraded toilet facilities for nearly 44% of its 1.36 billion citizens and has a plan in place to continue modernizing its sanitation infrastructure.

Happy World Toilet Day!

World Toilet Day 2014: Celebrate Clean Water

Living in the United States, it’s hard to imagine life without the basics, but about 2.5 billion people around the world – about one-fourth of the world’s population – literally don’t have a pot to … um… pee in. Without proper sanitation, some really unpleasant diseases can spread easily through the population. In addition, clean water sources quickly become contaminated, perpetuating the cycle of disease and death in affected areas.

According to the UN, more than 4,300 children per day die from causes related to poor sanitation. More than 1,000 children die from diarrheal diseases caused by poor sanitation. Lack of sanitation also damages the economic potential of an area and reduces school attendance, especially for girls.

About 1 billion people each day defecate in the open, a practice the UN would like to eliminate. India accounts for about 60% of open defecation. Open defecation allows serious diseases like cholera, polio, hepatitis, and typhoid to spread unchecked. According to the UN, fewer than half of the population in 46 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia have access to proper sanitation. While you might be tempted to think that the hardest hit areas are rural (they are), about three-quarters of billion people live in urban areas in these affected countries without access to sanitation, and this number has actually increased by about 50% since 1990.

Without the urban planning that has taken place in modern cities since the mid-1800’s, the United States (and major parts of the rest of the world) be in a similar situation. Boston was one of the first major cities in the US to adopt a system of clean, running water, sanitary sewers and sewage treatment. While these systems were neither simple nor inexpensive, they allowed cities like Boston (and the people who live in them) to flourish.

We take for granted the safety of our fresh water and sanitation systems, but World Toilet Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the very short distance between proper and improper sanitation. We at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating are dedicated to creating and maintaining the healthiest Boston possible. In addition to fixing and maintaining your toilets and sewer connections, we can also recommend and install water-saving fixtures and innovative products that can improve the safety and comfort of your home.

Call us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 anytime. We offer true 24-hour emergency service for plumbing, heating and cooling repairs.