The Cultural and Environmental Unsoundness of the Chinese Public Squatting-Type Toilet: A Case Study toward a Sustainable Excreta Treatment System

  • Chang, Jin-Soo (Molecular Biogeochemistry Laboratory, Biological and Genetic Resources Institute (BGRI))
  • Received : 2014.01.25
  • Accepted : 2014.02.28
  • Published : 2014.06.30


The inconvenient truth of sustainable public squat toilet culture varies among nationalities. This culture may be comfortable to the people of China, yet uncomfortable to the non-Chinese, according to the adequate environmental management in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture (YKAP), northern China. We conducted a series of field surveys and individual interviews (Chinese n = 1,000 and non-Chinese [foreign visitors] n = 100) on several aspects of the public squat toilet: structural properties, waste disposal methods, important factors, and overall satisfaction level. The significant factors in response to the public squat toilets were cleanliness, odor, toilet paper, temperature, soap, other facilities, and presence of cubicles. These factors should be policy priorities of the local government. In addition, 66.2% of Chinese and 91% of foreign visitors desired type E toilets (two full-high partition walls and a door). The results illustrate the nature of a sustainable and beautiful approach to the culturally and environmentally sound management of various types of public squat toilet in YKAP. The government needs to focus on the future-oriented and excreta treatment management of the sustainable toilet culture for residents and visitors of YKAP.


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