The public toilets at Phuket International Airport have been bestowed the title ‘Best Public Toilet of the Year 2018’ by the Thai Ministry of Public Health.

Dr Thawat Suntarajan, Deputy Minister of Public Health, announced the news today (Nov 19) at a special event held at the Richmond Hotel in Nonthabauri, on the outskirts of Bangkok.

“Today is the United Nations World Toilet Day. The annual day is held leads people to make sanitary toilets a priority.”

According to the UN agency website itself, “World Toilet Day is an official United Nations international observance day on 19 November to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Worldwide, 4.5 billion people live without “safely managed sanitation” and around 892 million people practise open defecation.”

However, despite the high-standing morals of the international observance day, Dr Thawat today did not give any explanation of why Phuket International Airport was bestowed the prestigious title of ‘Best Public Toilet of the Year 2018’, other than that the award was bestowed in recognition of cleanliness, accessibility and convenience.

Of note, the toilets at the airport made national news last year after high-ranking officials blasted the facility for having “filthy” toilets, prompting Thailand’s Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith to conduct an inspection of the facilities during a visit to Phuket’s critical tourism portal in January last year.

In explaining on what went wrong with the dirty bathrooms, Minister Arkhom said “This was because they were using the wrong bathroom cleaning liquid, which made the basins look dirty. They have resolved this problem already.”

Wanthana Jangprajack, Director of the Division of Tourism Service Development under the Ministry of Tourism & Sports in Bangkok, however, last year noted the importance of clean public toilets for the sake of tourism.

“There are not enough public toilets at many tourism destinations. Some public toilets already in place do not match hygiene, safety and security standards. Some toilets lack facilities for elderly and disabled people,” Ms Wanthana said.

Ms Wanthana also noted that the problem may be that the standards set for public toilets might not meet modern expectations.

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