Lantian County in northwest China's Shaanxi Province has recently launched a project to help rebuild and upgrade household toilets in rural areas.
The poor sanitary conditions of toilets in the region have since been greatly improved thanks to the program, as an extention of a nationwide "toilet revolution" since 2015.
Xu Enqiang, a 68-year-old villager, volunteered to be a part of the project.
"The idea was not widely accepted at the beginning, but after my neighbors saw my new toilet, they wanted to have their own, too," said Xu.
"A few months ago, we were using a dirty and shabby latrine in the corner of our courtyard. During the summer, the toilet became a breeding ground for flies and mosquitoes," he recalled.
Xu's old toilet was an example of the majority of rural household toilets in western China.
The project aims to replace old public toilets with new ones, hoping to cover 85 percent of the rural areas in midwest China, a less-developed region of the country.
"The government will help each household build or renovate their outhouse, which consists of a flushing toilet, a sink, and a self-contained sewage system. The outhouse will be around two to three square meters," said Sun Chongbo, deputy governor of Lantian. "New toilets will prevent the spread of diseases and villagers will enjoy the convenience of a clean toilet."
"Moreover, the sewage system of the outhouse will allow the waste to be used as fertilizer for their crops," Sun said.
After the treatment process, farmers can use a portable device to pump the fermented fertilizer, which compared with sanitation trucks is easier and more convenient, according to Sun.
As of 2017, Shaanxi Province has already had over 2 million such toilets with waste treatment facilities up to national standards, accounting for nearly one third of the provincial total.
"These new facilities will also help improve the living standards of villagers and bring changes to their lifestyles," said Xue Yizheng, a local official in charge of sanitation work.
The Chinese government launched its "toilet revolution" across the country in 2015 with an aim to make the most notorious public facilities cleaner and more regulated.