SINGAPORE -- The Associated Press is reporting that Singapore plans to rate public toilets using a five-star system similar to that used to grade hotels as part of a new campaign called "Happy Toilet," an official said Monday.
Auditors will rate toilets on cleanliness, layout and ergonomics, said Jack Sim, president of the Singapore Restroom Association, which developed the rating system in conjunction with the Health Ministry.
"We came up with this program because today when you go to a public toilet you do not know what to expect inside," Sim said. "Sometimes you are very happy, but sometimes you are very shocked - disgusted."
"When toilets are clean, people are happy and healthy," he added.
Plaques bearing star ratings will soon appear outside many of Singapore's 70,000 public toilets, which are found in food courts, shopping centers, industrial buildings and army barracks, Sim said.
The island nation of 4 million people is well known for its behavior improvement campaigns targeting gum chewing, spitting and people who don't flush toilets.
A three-star rating will mean a toilet is regularly cleaned and restocked with toilet paper, soap and paper towels. Restrooms that fail to meet the minimum three-star standard will receive no rating.
To receive a five-star rating, a restroom must have an especially well-designed layout so that traffic flows smoothly from the toilets to the sinks, Sim explained.
"It has to have a very good ambience, probably with plants and pictures," Sim said. "You will know it's a five-star even without someone endorsing it."
The program is voluntary and rated restrooms will automatically be considered for the newly created Singapore Loo of the Year award, Sim said.
Environment Minister Lim Swee Say will launch the system at a ceremony later this month, Sim said.