Last week, Shanghaiist reported on the latest updates from the buildup to the 2010 World Expo, including a plan to take the “poo” out of the Huangpu River and make the water drinkable. Now, we learn that the city has launched something called the Shanghai Public Toilet Association (story in Chinese), along with www.toiletweb.cn (in Chinese), Shanghai’s official website for public toilets.
We are told to expect more modernized toilets and more toilets catering to females. According to the Shanghai Administration on City Appearance and Environmental Sanitation, the government now looks after 2,085 public toilets in Shanghai, half of which are located downtown. There are 1,740 toilets in public places such as supermarkets and entertainment centres. But that’s far from enough to solve the city’s government-mandated need for relief — Shanghai requires more than 600 new public toilets in five years to ensure there will be a toilet every 300 meters, a standard all World Expo visitors will no doubt be expecting and monitoring closely. The story said since females require the use of public toilets three times more than men do — likely because many men in the city have no problem relieving themselves on the sidewalk — there will eventually be three female toilets for every two for men. Also, the new public toilets are supposed to come equipped with a solar-heated hot water supply, help buttons, and specialized cubicles for babies, mothers and disabled people.
That all sounds great, but Shanghaiist (who is Shanghainese, by the way) wants to know one thing: are we still going to have to squat? And how about providing some hand soap? And maybe some paper to dry our hands with?