Sunday, August 12, 2012

Smart toilet sites remains on Paper

Smart toilet for tourist sites project remains on paper
VietNamNet Bridge – The campaign on building standard toilets at tourist sites was launched two years ago. However, the toilet story remains burning now.
No standards, no toilets

Explaining the delay in building toilets at tourist sites and the destinations, local authorities said that no standards for tourism toilets have been issued, therefore, they still cannot implement the plan on developing toilets.

The heavily invested project on building a series of smart toilets in the sea city of Nha Trang was kicked off soon after the campaign was launched.

The toilet’s doors would be opened after tourists insert a 2000 dong coin into a machine. Every tourist has six minutes to use toilets, because after six minutes, the water system would automatically run to clear the floor.

However, no one uses coins at this moment any more. Despite the big efforts by the State Bank, Vietnamese people still turn their back on coins. As a result, the smart toilets cannot be used.

Meanwhile, non-smart toilets which have been built with fewer money and run by local people, seem to operate at “full capacity.” However, these are just the toilets temporarily built on the way to Dong Yen Tu Pagoda. They are just the simple fiberboards installed on the way, which seriously spoil the local landscapes.

At Cua Dai wharf, one of the well-known tourism destination, there is only one two-room toilet for tourists waiting to buy tickets or waiting for their ships. However, since this is a private run toilet, when the owner is away, the two rooms are locked, and no one can enter them.

Even the two big cities of Hanoi and HCM City are also seriously lacking toilets. Toilets have been installed only in central areas or key streets, while there is no toilet on the belt roads. Especially, some toilets close the door at 5 pm every day, while others have been left idle for the last many years.

On the My Dinh stadium square, for example, there is no public toilet, though this is the place where many people gather in the afternoon.

Hoang Cong Vinh, a tour guide, said local authorities have blamed tourists on the rapid degrading of toilets. However, Vinh said, this is not the main reason.

The key problem, according to Vinh, is that the toilets do not meet the standards in material facilities. Such toilets cannot be capable enough to serve tourists at the well-known tourist sites which receive higher number of travelers every day.

When programming the toilet system, local authorities did not exactly calculate the high demand of tourists in high season to decide how many immovable and mobile toilets.

Standards set up, but problem remains unsettled

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has set up temporary standards for public toilets, which means that local authorities now can begin going ahead with the toilet programming plan.

However, another problem has arisen. Tourism toilets need a large land fund in every locality. Also, the toilets need to be located in reasonable places which allow maintaining the beautiful landscapes.

Therefore, the investors would have to seek permission from different agencies, including the local department of natural resources and the environment, finance department and construction department.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Viet Anh, Head of the Travel Division of the HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that the department still cannot release a detailed plan on building the toilet system in the city, because of some unfulfilled procedures.

Doan Manh Linh from the Quang Ninh provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, also said he is not sure if the standard toilet system can be installed in the Ha Long City by the end of the year.

Thanh Mai
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