|Jan. 26, 2018 -- The campaign to improve the standards of public restrooms has spread nationwide, but high on the ecologically fragile Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the "toilet revolution" has progressed a little differently.
In Qinghai province, the Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture government has invested 4.1 million yuan ($637,140) to promote the toilet transformation since 2015.
So far, 25 new public restrooms have been built up in scenic areas in Yushu, with each decorated in the traditional Tibetan wooden house style.
The economy on the plateau is relatively weak and the ecosystem is fragile. "Being ecologically and environmentally friendly are two main features of our public toilets," said Asha Yumhon, director of tourism.
He said to minimize the environmental impact as much as possible, cement, steel and tiles were not allowed during construction. Only wooden materials were permitted in building the restrooms, to make them pollution-free and more aesthetic.
"Yushu will be important for tourism and commerce in Khams Tibetan-speaking areas," he added. "The restrooms are undoubtedly a vital part of the infrastructure of the area."
These linguistic areas include Yushu in Qinghai, the Garze Tibetan autonomous prefecture and the Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province, Qamdo in the Tibet autonomous region, the Diqing Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Yunnan province, and the Gannan Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Gansu province.
Residents have praised the newly built public facilities. The 1,300-year-old Princess Wencheng Temple is a popular destination in Yushu for tourists and local worshippers.
"There used to be no restroom in the temple, and the only sanitary facility was a prefabricated building. Now we have cleaner and more convenient public toilets, as well as water and electricity supplies, a road and beautiful rooms," said monk Karma Tamdru.
Lonsum Rigzin, a local resident, added, "A lot of believers come to pray in the temple every year. Thanks to the government, infrastructure has been improved."
Officials have pledged to further promote China's "toilet revolution", put in place more scientific rules to deal with sanitary problems, and improve the quality of tourism.