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English>>China Society

Subway restroom complaints flare after photo posted online

By Xu Wei, Zheng Caixiong  (China Daily)

08:34, November 19, 2012

The shortage of access to public toilets in Guangzhou subway stations sparked public outcry after a boy was pictured defecating in a subway car.

The photo of the child squatting in a subway carriage went viral after it was posted on the micro-blogging website Sina Weibo on Nov 10.

It immediately fueled complaints about insufficient access to public toilets - only 16 of Guangzhou's more than 100 metro stations have public toilets.

An official from Guangzhou Metro who did not want to be identified said the company has been urged to have the plans for new stations include toilets to help ease the shortage.

"Many deputies of the city people's congress, members of local committees of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and residents have suggested we install mobile toilets near metro stations to deal with the problem, and we are discussing such a plan," he added.

Meanwhile, the corporation is trying to guide passengers to use the public restrooms near metro stations, he said.

Han Zhipeng, a member of the CPPCC Guangzhou committee, wrote on his micro blog that the subway station should give commuters access to staff toilets upon request.

The operating company could learn from Shanghai Metro, he said, which initially installed temporary toilets for commuters.

Lan Tian, a media officer at Shanghai Metro's operation management center, said the company has gone a long way toward providing restrooms for commuters.

"We didn't realize commuters would need toilets when Shanghai built Lines 1 and 2," he said.

When the company began to receive complaints, it could only provide temporary toilets, "but waste disposal was a problem", he said.

The company later installed "green" toilets that disposed of waste using biotechnology. However, because of the large volume of passengers, the toilets broke down at times, and the company had to close the toilets.

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