Okay, when the government has to post cartoons in the stalls of the bathrooms to try and teach it’s citizens how to use the facilities, you know you are in China. Of course, the cartoons are in English so you have to wonder….is it targeted at just me because I am pretty sure I’m the only one who only speaks/reads only English in our building? I would say that everyone could use a refresher course on this topic but don’t I feel special that it is directed just at me. Guess I’ll have to be more careful in the future or the bathroom police will swoop down upon me.
I have to be honest with you, though, after seeing countless people just use the street as their personal bathroom, no amount of cute cartoons posted in bathrooms are going to make a difference. Walking back from the park Sunday, two women were holding a toddler over the hedge to take care of business. Not lying and yes, it freaks you out. You know you should just avert your eyes and move on quickly because otherwise you will see some serious shit (literally) that you just don’t want to see but you stare because you just can’t believe it’s happening.
The press is even weighing in on this topic. In the Shanghai Daily this week, one of the lead stories was on pit toliets or squats as they are called by locals. Squats are still used in many urban bathrooms as well as rural areas so if you live or visit here, you will learn to squat.
REMEMBER–hand sanitizer and toliet paper–carry them with you religiously wherever you go or you will be so, so sorry. Working on those thigh muscles couldn’t hurt as well–practice that yoga warrior position perhaps? You will need those muscles to use those squat (hole in the floor) bathrooms, believe me. TMI, I know, but just trying to do my public service to get those “spoiled by toliets” Westerners ready for their China experience. You never know when you may have to decide between using the squat bathroom or just taking advantage of a handy hedge. Either is acceptable here.
Shanghai Daily Article for your reading pleasure:
Toilet campaign cleans up rural living conditions
Source: Xinhua | December 13, 2013, Friday |
Pang Zhankui and his family never expected a flush toilet at home, enabling them to get rid of the latrine pit haunted by flies and mosquitoes.
“No more dirty pits and no more stinky smells. All we have to do now is push the flush button,” said Pang, a 65-year-old farmer in Cangfang
Village, Gaoyi County in north China’s Hebei Province.
Pang’s family is among the 120,000 households who had their pit toilets replaced by flush toilets this year as part of a provincial campaign to improve the living environment in rural areas.
China has a rural population of 650 million. Farmers have benefited from the country’s opening up, reform, and preferential policies in past decades. However, it lags behind in living environment.
Farmers suffer from dirty pit toilets, garbage and waste water near their houses because of poor infrastructure and loose management.
“We used to throw kitchen leftovers and other garbage into the pigsty in the yard, but in recent years, when we quit raising pigs, we had nowhere to discard the garbage,” said Feng Yuezeng, a Nanlangtou Village farmer in Luancheng County, Shijiazhuang City.
In a rural environment improvement campaign, the Hebei provincial government spent 6.57 billion yuan (US$1.08 billion) this year on garbage disposal in 50,000 villages in the province. More than 120,000 workers have been hired at an annual cost of 270 million yuan to collect the trash in villages and deliver it to garbage power plants.
Zhang Baoqiang, director with the leadership office on countryside appearance innovation in Hebei, said more government efforts are necessary to address rural environmental issues.
He said the government plans to convert all pit toilets to flush toilets in the province within three years. “We only have seven years to reach the goal,” Zhang said.