Singapore

Three sets of toilets at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands get six-stars

When the toilets near the Chanel store inside The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) start to smell, a cleaner will arrive to spruce things up.

The restrooms are equipped with sensors to track the level of ammonia. When the ammonia level hits a certain level, an alert is sent via text message to a cleaner.

A system monitors visitor volume, which is used to estimate when hand soap or toilet paper is running out.

Such smart technology has helped the toilets to become the first here to garner the highest six-star rating from the Restroom Association (Singapore), or RAS, since the rating band was introduced in 2015.

Three sets of toilets - made up of one restroom each for women and men - at the MBS mall received the top ratings yesterday. MBS said the remaining 15 sets of toilets will be upgraded in the next few years.

It said pilot trials started in 2016 and the toilet technology was implemented a year later. But it declined to provide estimates on cost savings.

Madam Irene Soh, 66, a cleaning supervisor, said her team members like the new technology as it allows them to clean up dirty toilets quicker.

Currently, there are 217 three-star toilets, 637 with four stars and 586 five-star toilets, under the RAS' voluntary toilet rating system launched in 2003.

Toilets are graded on a total of 108 points. Ratings are subject to renewal yearly, and spot-checks are conducted.

RAS president Tan Puay Hoon said it was difficult to get the six-star rating, which requires sustained efforts and investment to train cleaners and make improvements. Besides good design and training, what matters too is that more people do their part to keep toilets clean, she said.

"The design must be correct, the cleaner must be trained, and the user must be considerate. It's only when these three come together that we can have cleaner public toilets in a sustainable way," she said.

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