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Last Updated: Monday, 2 June, 2003, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Singapore to flush out bad toilets
A mime artist at the launch of the World Toilet Summit in Singapore in November 2001
Singapore has a long history of drives to improve social behaviour
Singapore is to launch a "Happy Toilet" campaign that will rate public restrooms with a five-star system similar to the one used for hotels.

Toilets that meet the grade will soon be able to show off plaques bearing their star rating.

They will also qualify for the newly created Singapore Loo of the Year award.

Announcing the scheme, the president of the Singapore Restroom Association, Jack Sim, said: "When toilets are clean, people are happy and healthy."

The association devised the rating system for Singapore's 70,000 public toilets with the health ministry.

Voluntary programme

Auditors will tour the toilets to rate them on cleanliness, layout and ergonomics.

We came up with this programme because today when you go to a public toilet you do not know what to expect inside
Jack Sim, Singapore Restroom Association

The island state of four million people has a long history of projects to improve social behaviour - targeting gum chewing, spitting and people who fail to flush public toilets.

This scheme will, however, be voluntary.

"We came up with this programme because today when you go to a public toilet you do not know what to expect inside," Mr Sim said.

"Sometimes you are very happy, but sometimes you are very shocked - disgusted."

The rating system will give five stars to particularly well-designed toilets where users can move smoothly from the toilets to the sinks.

"It has to have a very good ambiance, probably with plants and pictures," Mr Sim said.

Three stars will be awarded to a toilet regularly cleaned and stocked with toilet paper, soap and paper towels.

Restrooms that fail to meet the minimum three-star standard will receive no rating.

Environment Minister Lim Swee Say will launch the system at a ceremony this month.

Singapore puts public hygiene high on its agenda. As the world wrestled with international terrorism at the end of 2001, it hosted the first World Toilet Summit.

About 200 representatives from 15 countries took part in three days of seminars.

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