Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Eco-Innovation or Eyesore? Public Urinals Cause Backlash in Paris

Popular
A man stands at a 'uritrottoir' public urinal on Aug. 13 on the Saint-Louis island in Paris, as a 'bateau mouche' tourist barge cruises past. THOMAS SAMSON / AFP / Getty Images

Bright red urinals designed to be an eco-friendly solution to the problem of public peeing have become a source of controversy in Paris, CNN reported Tuesday.

The urinals are located in flower boxes and use straw to eliminate odor. The urine is then used to fertilize the plants in parks and gardens.


City officials said in a statement that a year's worth of pee from a single person has enough nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium to fertilize 400 square meters (approximately 478.4 square yards) of wheat.

But for residents of the Ile Saint-Louis, where one such urinal overlooks the Seine not far from the Notre Dame cathedral, the urinal's environmental benefits don't make up for the way it pollutes their island's iconic scenery.

Opponents have written a letter to the town hall demanding the urinal be removed, Reuters reported.

"There's no need to put something so immodest and ugly in such an historic spot," 68-year-old Venetian art store owner Paola Pellizzari told Reuters. "It's beside the most beautiful townhouse on the island, the Hotel de Lauzun, where Baudelaire lived," she said.

Ariel Weil, the mayor of the fourth district of Paris where the offending urinal is located, defended its necessity.

"If we don't do anything, then men are just going to pee in the streets," he said, according to Reuters. "If it is really bothering people, we will find another location."

There are currently four of these Uritrottoirs, a portmanteau of the French words for peeing and pavement, in locations around the city where public peeing has become a problem. A fifth is planned to join them.

But residents find the current, exposed designs, labeled clearly with signs, offensive.

"I think installing a urinal in the streets of Paris for those who don't respect their surroundings is a good idea, but in my opinion, this model is not attractive at all, and where it's been set up is not appropriate at all," one man said, according to CNN.

There is also a gendered component to the disappearance of public urinals, and their reappearance now.

British Toilet Association managing director Raymond Morris told CNN that public urinals were common in Paris since the late 1800s for men travelling to work.

However, when women began to enter the workforce, exposed urinals began to be replaced with enclosed stalls.

Gwendoline Coipeault of French feminist group Femmes Solidaires said the new public urinals unfairly forced women to surrender their urban environment to the needs of men.

"They have been installed on a sexist proposition: men cannot control themselves (from the bladder point of view) and so all of society has to adapt," Coipeault told Reuters. "The public space must be transformed to cause them minimum discomfort."

But for Morris, the problem was not that men had too many public peeing options, but that women still had too few, even after the spread of enclosed stalls. "The trouble today is the inequality for women," he told CNN.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Two rare Malayan tiger cubs born at the Bronx Zoo in January 2016, Nadia and Azul made their public debut in September 2016. Nadia has now tested positive for the new coronavirus, and Azul has shown symptoms.

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo is believed to be the first animal in the U.S. and the first tiger in the world to test positive for the new coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Derrick Jackson

By Derrick Z. Jackson

As much as hurricanes Katrina and Maria upended African American and Latinx families, the landfall of the coronavirus brings a gale of another order. This Category 5 of infectious disease packs the power to level communities already battered from environmental, economic, and health injustice. If response and relief efforts fail to adequately factor in existing disparities, the current pandemic threatens a knockout punch to the American Dream.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable meeting with energy sector CEOs in the Cabinet Room of the White House April 3 in Washington, DC. Doug Mills-Pool / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

A coalition of climate organizations strongly criticized President Donald Trump's in-person Friday meeting with the chief executives of some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world, saying the industry that fueled climate disaster must not be allowed to profiteer from government giveaways by getting bailout funds or preferred treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD

An Important Note

No supplement, diet, or lifestyle modification — aside from social distancing and practicing proper hygiene ⁠— can protect you from developing COVID-19.

The strategies outlined below may boost your immune health, but they don't protect specifically against COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Zak Smith

It is pretty amazing that in this moment when the COVID-19 outbreak has much of the country holed up in their homes binging Netflix, the most watched show in America over the last few weeks has been focused on wildlife trade — which scientists believe is the source of the COVID-19 pandemic. Make no mistake: Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is about wildlife trade and other aspects of wildlife exploitation, just as surely as the appearance of Ebola, SARS, MERS, avian flu and probably COVID-19 in humans is a result of wildlife exploitation. As a conservationist, this is one of the things I've been thinking about while watching Tiger King. Here are five more:

Read More Show Less