02/23/2013 01:31 pm ET

China Health Ministry Looks To Improve Public Toilets, Proposes 'One Fly' Rule And Odor Regulations

China's Health Ministry wants to control how many flies should be allowed in its bathrooms.

Authorities are trying to crack down on the country's notoriously dirty public facilities, reports Agence France-Presse, with newly proposed draft regulations that aim to regulate the number of flies allowed in toilet areas, as well as how smelly those areas can be.

According to the South China Morning Post, some of the proposed rules state that "only three flies will be allowed per square metre in stand-alone public toilets." Toilets built within other facilities however will be allowed one fly only.

Other rules touched on the smells of facilities and suggested allowing only a "slight odor," as judged by inspection teams.

State-run news service Xinhua reports that the Health Ministry also wants to double the number of female stalls in public facilities that see equal numbers of women and men. According to The New York Times, the policy previously suggested that an equal number of toilets be assigned to male and female restrooms. However, women in the in the cities of Guangzhou and Beijing became so fed up with long lines at public toilets that, in 2012, they took to the streets to demonstrate for more stalls.

The Chinese Ministry of Health posted a copy of the new sanitation guidelines on its website and invited the public to fax or email comments.

The proposed rules are similar to the odor and trash standards put in place by the city of Beijing in May. The BBC reports that those rules stipulated that a maximum of two flies would be allowed per toilet.

Speaking with CNN about the Beijing reforms, Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organization said that while few flies are good, no flies are better.

"If there is one fly, it simply means there are other flies," Sim told CNN.

The World Health Organization estimates that 14 million Chinese still defecate in the open, but notes that the country is also rapidly improving its standards.

The Times reports that Chinese are are purchasing nearly 19 million toilets a year, twice as many as the number purchased in the U.S.



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