CLOSINGS: View Closings

Eco-friendly open-air urinals cause uproar in Paris

An attempt by officials in Paris to tackle public urination by installing open-air urinals, or "uritrottoirs...

Posted: Aug 14, 2018 6:55 PM
Updated: Aug 14, 2018 6:55 PM

An attempt by officials in Paris to tackle public urination by installing open-air urinals, or "uritrottoirs," has outraged some residents of the French capital.

The new urinals, housed in flower boxes, aren't subtle -- they're fully exposed on street corners, are painted bright red and have nearby signs advertising their presence.

Continents and regions

Environment and natural resources

Environmentalism

Europe

France

Paris

Western Europe

Demographic groups

Females (demographic group)

Population and demographics

Society

One in particular, located near the Notre-Dame cathedral, has drawn attention for its view of the River Seine.

The "intelligent urinals," which have a straw layer that eliminates odor, were installed in areas where public urination is a problem, according to a statement from city officials.

Officials say the urinals are eco-friendly -- they will harness nutrients in waste to produce compost for parks and gardens. According to the statement, one year of a person's urine holds enough nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium to fertilize 400 square meters of wheat.

However, these features have done little to calm the ire of local residents, who have written to the town hall in protest.

"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 told reporters.

Another resident complained that "it is definitely a desirable and historic neighborhood, but seeing people urinating right in front of your door is not the nicest thing."

Ariel Weil, mayor of the fourth district of Paris, tweeted in defense of the urinals on Monday, calling them "an invention of genius." Four have been installed so far, with a fifth being planned.

Paris isn't the first European city to install outdoor urinals. Amsterdam has had them for years, and cities in Belgium and Australia have also trialed them.

A centuries-old tradition

Public urinals, or pissoirs as they're known in French, have a long history in Paris, dating back to the late 1800s when they were installed for men traveling to and from work.

It wasn't until women started entering the workforce in greater numbers decades later that the need for enclosed cubicles with seats, toilet paper and hand basins emerged, explained Raymond Morris, managing director of the British Toilet Association.

"In London, this is where the phrase 'spend a penny' came from, as it cost a penny to use these facilities -- the equivalent of buying a loaf of bread in those days," Morris told CNN.

Meanwhile some Parisian public toilets became "almost ornamental, due to their decorative features," said Morris. He added that the buildings had the added advantage of offering space for advertisers.

But centuries after the first pissoirs were installed in Paris, women are still not being adequately catered for, said Morris. "The trouble today is the inequality for women," he said, adding that in the UK, various proposals for female urinals had been rejected on the grounds that they exposed women in public.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312969

Reported Deaths: 3637
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin661641115
Ramsey27766505
Anoka22149228
Dakota22015190
Washington13999115
Stearns13733116
St. Louis8747112
Scott846255
Wright775843
Olmsted665634
Sherburne587641
Clay498457
Carver474213
Blue Earth414116
Rice412836
Kandiyohi408122
Crow Wing359634
Otter Tail314322
Chisago311611
Nobles308730
Benton299451
Winona276930
Mower261623
Douglas260337
Polk256324
Morrison231629
Lyon218711
Beltrami217117
McLeod212812
Becker205415
Goodhue203228
Steele19497
Isanti190617
Itasca190423
Carlton185816
Todd181214
Nicollet162525
Mille Lacs153631
Freeborn15336
Le Sueur147011
Cass143710
Brown141315
Waseca139211
Pine13658
Meeker12879
Roseau11964
Hubbard114925
Martin113320
Wabasha10561
Redwood94619
Chippewa8877
Cottonwood8664
Renville86527
Dodge8600
Watonwan8544
Wadena8016
Sibley7934
Rock7779
Aitkin76730
Pipestone72518
Fillmore6990
Houston6984
Yellow Medicine64812
Pennington6478
Kanabec61913
Murray5873
Swift5838
Faribault5612
Pope5391
Clearwater5248
Stevens5103
Marshall4979
Unassigned49359
Jackson4881
Lake4226
Koochiching3926
Wilkin3895
Lac qui Parle3773
Lincoln3591
Norman3497
Big Stone3182
Mahnomen2964
Grant2796
Kittson2248
Red Lake2133
Traverse1481
Lake of the Woods1001
Cook720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 227398

Reported Deaths: 2368
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33642336
Linn14352165
Scott1124986
Black Hawk10893135
Woodbury10372126
Johnson955336
Dubuque923291
Story678822
Dallas637257
Pottawattamie631970
Sioux370325
Webster358535
Cerro Gordo357144
Marshall348546
Clinton331344
Buena Vista305414
Des Moines291520
Muscatine289268
Warren281914
Plymouth276042
Wapello255772
Jones232313
Jasper217944
Marion205320
Lee203917
Carroll198422
Bremer195212
Henry18307
Crawford174616
Benton170619
Tama154340
Jackson144613
Delaware144221
Washington141314
Dickinson139210
Boone137011
Mahaska126827
Wright12456
Clay11784
Buchanan117010
Hardin115810
Page11374
Hamilton11199
Clayton11175
Cedar108413
Harrison107729
Kossuth10667
Calhoun10617
Floyd105016
Mills10487
Fayette103910
Lyon10338
Butler10216
Poweshiek99313
Winneshiek97613
Iowa95812
Winnebago93023
Hancock8677
Grundy86311
Louisa86216
Sac8608
Chickasaw8574
Cherokee8484
Allamakee81811
Cass81623
Mitchell7984
Appanoose79312
Humboldt7715
Union7706
Shelby76511
Emmet76424
Guthrie75415
Franklin73921
Jefferson7142
Madison6864
Unassigned6690
Palo Alto6554
Keokuk5997
Howard5599
Pocahontas5584
Greene5250
Osceola5241
Ida48913
Clarke4874
Davis4709
Taylor4653
Montgomery46311
Monroe44412
Adair4418
Monona4352
Worth3630
Fremont3583
Van Buren3585
Lucas3256
Decatur3170
Wayne3007
Audubon2962
Ringgold2112
Adams1702
Rochester
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 21°
Mason City
Clear
13° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 13°
Albert Lea
Clear
14° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 14°
Austin
Clear
16° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 16°
Charles City
Clear
14° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 14°
Quiet Weather This Week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events