Los Angeles Times
Advanced technologies revitalize old town of Yunnan
In a matter of seconds, Qian Yafen can easily locate the nearest vacant toilet on her cell phone.
“I downloaded an app, clicked ‘find a restroom’ and then they just came up, with pictures of nearby public restrooms, numbers of available toilets as well as maps showing how I could get there,” Qian said.
She picked the nearest one and scanned a QR code on a tissue box after entering the restroom, which distributed free toilet paper.
“It’s brilliant! It helps avoid waste and solves my problem so quickly in a way that I’d never thought of,” she said.
Qian is visiting the Old Town, a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site with an 800-year history in the city of Lijiang, Yunnan province, which attracted more than 14 million tourists last year.
All 30 public restrooms in the Old Town are two-story buildings with traditional characteristics of Naxi, the native ethnic group. Two LED screens hanging at the entrance of each restroom designate both the men’s and women’s room as well as a unisex room. The screens also display the real-time temperature, humidity, and the concentration of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia gas.