Thu, Jun 14, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Hau promises toilet paper in every public restroom

ON A ROLL While the product would be welcome to all, some people are afraid that reams of toilet paper risk being stolen, at a considerable cost to the city

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said yesterday that the Taipei City Government would step up its efforts to provide toilet paper at all public restrooms in an effort to offer residents more convenience.

While some departments challenged the policy by sharing concerns over risks that the paper would get stolen, Hau defended his position and promised to prevent theft.

"Providing toilet paper at public restrooms may seem like a small thing, but it will offer the public convenience. Taipei is a civilized city and a first-class city should not fail on such a minor issue," Hau said after attending a municipal event.

Approximately 50 percent of all municipal organizations and public locations provide toilet paper, including MRT stations and Taipei municipal hospitals, the city government said.

In response to concerns that the budget for the service would skyrocket as free toilet paper is often stolen, Hau said that the situation could be solved by installing locking toilet paper holders and enhancing management in the restrooms.

"Refusing to provide toilet paper for fear it might be stolen would be like punishing people who follow the law," Hau said.

"There may be people who will try to take advantage [of this measure], but it should not prevent the city government from offering this service to the public," he said.

Taipei City's Department of Environmental Protection said there are 10,590 public restrooms around the city but that most restrooms in traditional markets do not provide toilet paper.

The department spends approximately NT$200,000 (US$6,000) each year putting paper in about 120 municipal restrooms.

Taipei City Government Secretariat Director Lee Sush-der(李述德) will hold a meeting with all departments, during which he will request that the policy be implemented as quickly as possible.

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