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Vietnam Forms Toilet Association, Seeks to Give Everyone Free Public Toilets

Vietnam is determined to improve the standard of toilets nationwide.

On November 8, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced during a conference that it has officially established the Vietnam Toilet Association (VTA), reports Tuoi Tre. The organization is managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and based in Thu Dau Mot, Binh Duong Province.

VTA was formed in response to the subpar conditions of public restrooms all over the country. Since the association’s establishment, VTA officials have started inspections of facilities across the country. The result was alarming: none of the public restrooms at the city halls and government offices satisfied the hygiene and quality standards for toilets, VTA Chairman Le Van Hiep shared at the meeting.

Vietnam’s lack of proper public toilets has been a perennial problem; and even when toilets are available, they are often unclean and uncomfortable. In Saigon, some local banks spearheaded a “Five-Star Toilets” program in 2014 that aimed to build 100 more public toilets. Nonetheless, the new facilities were mostly available only in central districts.

According to Hiep, the association’s first step in improving toilet standards is educating locals on proper toilet etiquette to improve general hygiene in existing latrines. Then, it will look to build a set of standardized public toilets. In the next five years, VTA wishes to improve 60% of the toilets in Vietnam while raising more funds to make 100% of public toilets free of charge.

“I myself think that public toilets must be free of charge as well as being clean. At present, toilets in many parts of Hanoi charge, which is especially a problem for those who use these frequently such as vendors or motorbike drivers,” he explained.

The recently formed association has become the butt of jokes online due to its name, but Hiep turned the other cheek and ignored naysayers. Many friends and colleagues also suggested that he choose another name for the agency, but the chairman thinks that the word “toilet” accurately reflects what the association seeks to tackle.

“Many people who now laugh at what I do would understand me later. Besides, there are lots of others who advocate the same opinions as me,” Hiep added.

[Photo via Bao Du Lich]

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