China announces extra steps to boost rural ‘toilet revolution’ across nation
To improve the rural living environment, China will take seven measures to promote the rural “toilet revolution,” the Xinhua News Agency reported.
These seven measures are: a comprehensive understanding of the basic need, developing scientific plans for construction, the rational selection of standards and models for the new toilets, pilot demonstrations, strengthening of technical support for installation, the establishment and improvement of management and operation mechanisms, and the simultaneous promotion of using toilets in a way that does not release hazardous waste.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Han Changfu suggested during a national rural reform work promotion conference held on October 9 in Zibo, East China’s Shandong Province, that promoting the rural “toilet revolution” is a crucial part of improving the living condition and increasing the happiness of farmers.
“There are more than 550,000 administrative villages and more than 200 million rural households,” Han was quoted as saying during the meeting. In recent years, 53.5 percent of villages in China have completed or partially completed toilet renovations, and nearly half of rural households have carried out toilet renovations, he said.
According to a three-year action plan for improving rural living conditions, by 2020, rural toilets in inner suburbs of cities in eastern, central and western China are expected to complete their retrofitting. In areas where basic conditions are better, the penetration rate of sanitary toilets should be as high as 85 percent. In remote and underdeveloped areas, the penetration rate should be significantly increased.
Han suggested that the key in the next step of the revolution is to break through technical difficulties in toilet retrofitting in regions facing severe cold and water shortages. Officials are expected to explore economical and practical technology models for manure and wastewater discharge.
Han stressed that to promote rural toilet reform, the government should not engage in face-saving projects, or concentrate all resources to create a few demonstration villages. Instead, the government should push forward the reform of rural toilets by phases and steps, and promote the improvement of rural toilets across the country.