Share This Page

China decides to grade its stinky restrooms

| Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, 9:09 p.m.

BEIJING — Want a job? In China you can apply to become a “stink assessor” for the country's notoriously noxious public restrooms.

Applicants for such a position should be younger than 30, have no history of nasal disease and avoid tobacco, pungent food and drink before and during the assessment, the country's ministry of health announced last week.

Wang Gang, who is 50 and a heavy smoker, was ready to offer an opinion about a neighborhood restroom. He classified the facility as hitting the fourth and worst stench level — “intense foul smell” — on draft standards for restrooms nationwide.

The rules —issued on Thursday for public feedback before they are enforced — specify the number of flies permitted: three per square meter in a stand-alone toilet and just one per square meter in a toilet room inside another building. As for maggots — zero tolerance.

Communist authorities value statistics, and the classification and precise targets attracted ridicule on Friday online in China, along with disbelief that the standards could be enforced. But there is little doubt they are needed.

Despite clear improvement in Beijing's facilities for the 2008 Olympics, Wang's local restroom has two holes in the ground without a partition, and there are no wash basins.

“It's better than before, but the bathroom is very over-used as there are few in this neighborhood, so it's very smelly,” said Wang in Lishi Hutong, an alley of one-story structures in Beijing's historic heart, where many families lack their own bathrooms.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.