Open-Air Urinals Cause an Uproar in Paris

When you travel to Paris, do not be amazed by finding extra things, not in the guidebook. Open air urinals! The urinals are an invention of Faltazi. While talking about the urinals, the design studio said were trying to solve the problem of French Capitals uncontrolled urination. Street urinals are topped with a red-pillar box and then covered with a flowerbed. These urinals have been termed as eco-friendly by the designers and they have located them in Paris, in places where public urination is an issue. While the government as seen the invention as intelligent, Paris locals are provoked.

The urinals have the following features:

  • Painted red and they have got signs nearby advertising them
  • A straw layer to enable odor elimination
  • Environmental friendly

A statement released by Paris officials indicated that a person’s one-year urine has enough Phosphorous, Nitrogen, and Potassium enough to fertilize 400 square meters of wheat. The statement, therefore, hinted that the urinals would help tap nutrients from the urine to produce compost for gardens and parks.

Despite the appealing features, locals have written to the town hall in protest. The ‘uritrottoirs,’ French word for urine and pavement, have been branded by the capital residents as indecent, displeasing and terrible. One of the urinals, located on the Ile Saint Louis, overlooks the tourist boats on the River Seine. The location is not very far from Notre Dame an impressive France’s landmark.

Speaking on the issue, Ariel Wiel, Fourth Arrondissement mayor said if they do not do anything men will keep helping themselves in the streets. He added that if the urinals location is the one bothering people, they will relocate them.

Residents had this to say to reporters:

  • Installing urinals in the streets of Paris is an excellent idea to help those who do not respect the surroundings. However, the model is not attractive, and its set up location is bad
  • The neighborhood has a desirable history, but the idea of watching someone urinating is not appealing

Street urinals are not new in France. Paris is not the first. Amsterdam has had them for years and also cities in Australia as well as Belgium.

Old Tradition

Pissoirs, public urinals reference in French, have a history dating back as far as the 1800s. They were installed for men who were traveling to and fro work. While explaining the history of urinals, Raymond Martin, British Toilet Association’s Managing director, said the need to have enclosed cubicles became necessary due to the entrance of women in large numbers; a decade later. The cubicle had seats, toilet paper, and hand basins.

It would cost a penny to use the facilities, an amount equivalent to buying a loaf of bread those days!

Martin added that public toilets became ornamental to the decorative features they had. He also noted that the buildings had the added advantage of offering space to advertisers.

Raymond Martin, however, was quick to add that despite the many centuries that have passed; women are still not well catered for. He blamed inequality of the women for lack of good catering. In the UK, proposals to have public female urinals encounter rejections. The ground being that they will expose women in public.

Everyone needs to use a toilet a day. Men require urinals, perhaps, several times a day. It is a common to see men urinating once the bars let out. Depending on the urge to release oneself, they end up peeing in the streets! Paris city officials have come to rescue the roads of the putrid odor. Urine is not sterile; it contains a lot of microbiomes which once out in public will become a breeding ground for bacteria. The public is being rescued from bacterial infections. Even though, let them relocate the street urinal near the Notre Dame Cathedral.

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