Energy experts have devised a cost-effective solar energy
bathing system aimed at introducing China's rural population to the
joys of a regular hot bath.
Statistics show that at least 200 million out of China's 800
million rural residents only bathe once a month. Tens of millions
were found to bathe only once every quarter or every six months.
Poor hygiene in turn can lead to the spread of diseases.
The problem is particularly bad in western Chinese villages
where some farmers and herdsmen may not bathe for a whole
Solar energy is being promoted in China's countryside as an
alternative to inefficient and polluting gas stoves. The stoves
burn low-quality briquette containing sulfur dioxide and other
poisonous elements which can harm health and the environment.
A solar energy bathing scheme set up by the Shandong-based
Huangming Solar Energy Group and the Yijianeng Solar Energy Company
brought the idea of regular bathing to Zhuangke village in Dezhou
city, east China's Shandong Province last winter.
For a fee of one yuan (12.5 US cents) per head and 1.5 yuan
(18.75 US cents) in winter more than 1,000 people can make use of a
village bathhouse. Over 100 solar energy bathhouses have been
opened in Dezhou.
Solar energy experts say more than 150 million Chinese people
are using solar energy water heaters.
A public fund for China's solar energy development is managed by
the Huangming Group and Yijianeng Company and they've invested
around eight million yuan (about US$1 million) in the construction
of solar energy bathhouses in China's rural areas.
(Xinhua News Agency December 18, 2006)