When you've gotta go, there's an app

Updated 2017-11-28 09:02:56 China Daily

A cloud platform using smartphones helps people find the nearest public toilets in China within 2 kilometers and allows them to upload locations they find that are not already listed.

The system was launched via WeChat on Nov 19-World Toilet Day-and will have a mobile app by the end of the month. It is designed to help tourists and residents alike when the need arises.

Almost 330,000 toilets in 2,288 counties throughout 29 provincial regions are included in the database, including at parks, universities, shopping malls and fast-food restaurants.

There is no English version yet, but one is planned soon.

The goal is to solve a sometimes urgent problem, according to Kuang Shihuan, deputy director of Beijing Wanfang Cloud Technology Co, which operates the platform for the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

"It's a good way to ease the pressure on social resources by letting more people know where the toilets are and making it more convenient for tourists," he said.

Similar systems, which are part of efforts to introduce intelligent environmental health services, are already in use. For example, a cloud platform was launched in Chongqing's Jiulongpo district that includes information about usage and sanitation inspections.

Kaifu district in Changsha, Hunan province, has used a satellite system to record information for evaluating services.

"We hope better city management can be achieved and that expenses can be reduced by sharing information with the public," Kuang said.

The China National Tourism Administration said its three-year "public toilet revolution" has made several clear achievements since it began in 2015, a Voice of China report said on Nov 20.

Li Jinzao, director of the administration, said that by the end of October 68,000 public toilets at tourist attractions had been rebuilt, exceeding the target by 19.3 percent.

Local governments have invested 1.8 billion yuan (2 million) in public toilet construction since 2015, he said, adding that "financing by central and local governments and efforts by enterprises are gradually increasing every year".

A three-year action plan for the "revolution" has a goal of building or rebuilding 64,000 toilets from 2018 to 2020.

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