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The China Toilet Revolution is not just another typical tagline for a marketing campaign that is all about self-promotion and no action. President Xi Jinping is leading a bold, logical, brave, and smart charge to provide access to proper sanitation and his people are stepping up to the toilet to help. More than 75,000 public toilet facilities were either refurbished or newly built last year and there are another 80,000+ planned for the coming years.
Global experts were recently brought in from across China and around the world to discuss design and construction as well as social implications attached to this important initiative. More than 20 speakers gave presentations to approximately 500 government and industry stakeholders recently in Xi'an in preparation for the revolution. The speakers, along with the attendees, all have an interest in promoting sanitation for both the tourism industry and the rural inhabitants that are still open defecating. Millions of people in China, especially in the remote locations, still do not have access to a safe and sanitary toilet.
Although China is labeled as a developing country, it really isn't fair to consider it the same as a country like Haiti. That is like standing on top of the tallest mountain in the world, looking down and saying, "the rest of the world is flat".
According to the United Nations, there are still billions of people with the same plight, no access to improved toilets. Although China is called a developing country, it really isn’t fair to label it the same as a country such as Haiti. That is like standing on top of the tallest mountain in the world, looking down and saying, the rest of the world is flat. It is all about perspective. China has the resources, technology and knowledge to turn around its sanitation crisis and is now beginning to realize the benefits.
"Waterborne illnesses are a leading cause of death for children under five, killing nearly 1,000 children every day." – UNICEF
Codes and Standards International (CSI) was one of the featured presenters, along with Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organization and Dr. Clara Greed, infamous for her research and publications on the importance of public toilet provisions within the context of urban design and the social aspects of planning. I presented a case for standardizing the construction of the toilet structures. The Global Guideline for Practical Public Toilet Installations was featured and will be updated over the next year by a multitude of renowned global experts in the areas of accessibility, cultural and religious aspects, gender equality and neutral facilities, public safety, providing better access for the children and the aging population and much more.
This new updated standard will have the unique input of the global sanitation community’s foremost experts and has the potential to not only save costs and improve public safety, but significantly increase access to those without a toilet. Just providing basic access to a toilet can uplift women, decrease the number of days in the hospital, increase the number of kids in school and raise the infant mortality rate. Waterborne illnesses are a leading cause of death for children under five, killing nearly 1,000 children every day. Every dollar invested in defeating the sanitation crisis returns $7 to $10.
I firmly support The World Toilet Organization and strongly believe that access to sanitation is a basic human right...not just for some, but for every person, every day, everywhere.
For more information regarding our work with the China Toilet Revolution initiative, updating the new global standard, or our ongoing project to create a sustainable plumbing industry in Haiti in collaboration with USAID, contact us directly at Info@BuildingCodesAndStandards.com.