In China, toilet paper rationing heralds the ‘Public Lavatory Revolution’

toilet paperA worker hands out a toilet paper while changing the roll for a facial recognition toilet paper dispenser at the Temple of Heaven park in Beijing, China. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Facial scanning will make sure that no one gets more than 60 centimetres of toilet paper in public toilets in Beijing.

A chronic lack of toilet paper in public toilets in China causes people to take an extra amount when they actually come across a roll.

The tourist authorities in the Chinese capital are fed up, and they are now installing systems for facial recognition.

After scanning the face, a dispenser will roll out 60 centimetres of toilet paper. It takes nine minutes before the operation may be repeated, so unless tourists are willing to hang about in the vicinity of the toilets for nine minutes, they will be discouraged from stocking up on the prized item.

‘In today’s China, people are very enthusiastic toward tourism, and we have ushered in a new era when it comes to tourism. People’s expectations of the condition of the public toilets will be higher’, said tourism researcher, Zhan Dongmei, of China’s tourism college.

To get the highest score from the national tourist authorities, there is a criterion for availability of many rolls of toilet paper in toilets.

But at the 600 year old Himmeltempelet (Temple of Heaven) in Beijing, they needed a method to prevent regular customers from taking the toilet paper to use on their next visit to the toilet. Thus, the new technology is being installed.

The focus on public toilets has been astounding in China over the past two years. In Beijing, it was decided that at least 34,000 new public toilets would be built, and 23,000 renovated.

The government are also encouraging the construction of toilets suited to the Western style, which involves sitting, instead of the traditional Chinese method, where one squats on one’s haunches. The upgrade of toilets has already cost around 25 billion yuan (about 30 billion).

Shanghai has also opened its first gender-neutral public toilets in order to contribute to greater availability and efficiency.

‘Women remain longer in Doko (toilet queues) than men, and it is fair that men and women wait in the same queues, said Zhu Jingyi, one of the residents of Shanghai, who appreciates the new initiative.

According to Zhan of the Tourist School, 90% of the ‘toilet revolution’ has been completed (with considerably less loss of life than involved in the ‘cultural revolution’), but he emphasized that the battle isn’t won until the new toilets are kept in a neat and clean condition.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today