And the Award Goes To … Indonesia’s Toilets!
The Tourism Ministry has announced plans to award Indonesian parks for their clean public toilets, which officials hope will make Indonesia a more attractive tourist destination, and will reinforce a local ethos of hygiene.
Director General of Tourist Destination Development Firmansyah Rahim told a press conference on Monday that the assessment started May 14, and will continue to Sept. 9 for some 62 recreation parks in 16 provinces.
“The 2012 Sapta Pesona Award for clean public toilets is aimed to appreciate and motivate the management of recreation parks,” Firmansyah said, as quoted by Antara.
Among the members of the prize jury are Naning S. Adiwoso, head of the Indonesian Toilet Association, and Sudaryatmo, who represents the Indonesian Consumer Foundation.
The award will be given on Sept. 27 to coincide with World Tourism Day.
Firmansyah said he hoped the award would foster better and more sanitary toilets, as well as improve public perception of Indonesian tourism centers. He also hoped the award would make Indonesian’s more mindful of hygiene when using public toilets.
“Toilet management should maintain cleanliness in order to improve services for both domestic and foreign tourists,” Firmansyah said.
The award is not unprecedented; similar prizes have been given since 2007 to Indonesian zoos, airports and museums with clean toilets.
According to a 2011 World Toilet Organization survey, Indonesia’s toilets were ranked below the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, placing them among the dirtiest in Asia.
The study ranked countries by the number of germs found on toilets randomly tested in each country. As many as 80 million germs could be found living on a single Indonesian toilet. Poor hygiene at such a level can potentially lead to the spread of infectious diseases such as typhoid.
And merely flushing the toilet, experts say, does not eliminate this risk.