Fri, Aug 11, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet sets funds to improve toilets

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

The Cabinet plans to allocate NT$4.9 billion (US$161.67 million) to improve 5,000 public toilets and modernize toilet culture by encouraging people to flush toilet paper down the toilet.

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday submitted a plan to renovate public toilet facilities to improve tourism quality.

Among the nation’s 36,000 public toilet facilities, 7,000 are rated below “fairly clean,” EPA Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said.

The agency would invest NT$4.9 billion to renovate 5,000 facilities from next year to 2024, Lee said.

Aging, crowded facilities and those located at tourist attractions would be the first to be renovated.

Public toilets used to be perceived as “wet, dirty and foul-smelling,” but years of efforts have changed that perception, the EPA said.

However, further improvement is needed, it said.

“China plans to allocate NT$10 trillion to roll out its ‘toilet revolution,’ which aims to build 100,000 new public toilet facilities, and Taiwan should not lag behind,” Lee said.

The EPA has since March also sought to change bathroom etiquette by encouraging people to flush toilet paper down the toilet.

Bathroom etiquette “is an issue of living standard and an indicator of modernity,” Lee said.

“There are still some upscale buildings that require users to throw used toilet paper into trash cans, despite the agency’s efforts encouraging people to flush toilet paper down the toilet, which many foreigners find unbelievable,” Lee said.

“It is embarrassing. Taiwan has modernized to the point where toilet paper can be flushed,” he said.

Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said public toilets are what make the first impression on tourists, so clean and sanitary facilities are necessary to improve the nation’s image.

The EPA project should also be used to create job opportunities for middle-aged and older workers, Lin added.

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