24 May 2012
Beijing city government has decreed that no public toilet should have more than two flies flying around at any one time. This is just one of a series of new rules set by the authorities to improve the city's public toilets.
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Six city departments have put their heads together to come up with the new rules. They cover cleaning, the use of equipment and training for attendants.
No public toilet should have more than two flies buzzing around - although the regulations don't state how that's to be checked. There's also an ordinance covering what's confusingly referred to as "discarded items". There should be no more than two of these left in any public convenience.
The new standards also detail how smelly a lavatory should be. Most people who've paid a visit to a Beijing public toilet, know at the moment they're very pungent indeed.
Of course, there is a serious side to these new regulations. Many people who live in the city's old neighbourhoods still don't have their own toilet and have no choice but to use public conveniences. For them, these rules might make an unavoidable daily necessity, a touch more palatable.
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- put their heads together
discussed as a group
people paid to help the needs of others
- buzzing around
moving about quickly creating a noise like an insect
collection of rules passed by authorities
- public convenience
toilet used by anyone
- paid a visit
gone to see something or someone
acceptable (smell or taste)