Restrooms with a number of themes, such as granaries and bars, have been built or renovated at Yashan Mountain scenic spot in southwest Jiangxi province. Photo By Zhang Wei / China Daily
The cleanup campaign is also addressing the poor condition of sanitary facilities in rural areas to energize tourism and improve conditions for local residents.
Traditionally, rural areas use communal pit latrines which lack any form of flushing mechanism. That means combined solid and liquid waste, which accumulates until it has to be removed manually, may leach into the surrounding soil and pose a danger to health.
Last year, a pilot to test the use of vacuum extraction technology to remove waste and improve sanitary conditions was started at Yueliang village in Hengshui city, southeast Hebei province.
In 2016, the village was designated a tourist destination because of its royal gardens and traditional cultural relics. As a result, in October, the local government included Yueliang in its plans to renovate rural sanitation facilities.
By the end of last year, four public restrooms that use vacuum extraction systems had been built and 440 family homes had been fitted with toilets that use the technology. The extracted waste is used to produce fertilizer for organic vegetables and fruits grown on local farms, according to Feng Guozhao, Party secretary of Yueliang.
According to Li, the vice-minister, the improvement of sanitary facilities in the countryside should be tailored to the needs of local people and the prevailing conditions, so local governments should not simply copy the standards employed in urban areas and tourist resorts.
"More than two billion people have visited tourist attractions in rural areas, indicating that rural tourism has become one of the main drivers of the sector's development nationally," he said.
"Improving the infrastructure - renovating toilets, for example - in rural areas will help to lay a solid foundation for the development of rural tourism and lift villagers out of poverty."
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