A central London district famous among tourists and locals for its nightlife is trying out a novel method to tackle the persistent problem of public urination. The authorities will now apply the so-called anti-pee paint at the spots of public urination. The industrial strength “surface protection” creates a transparent water-repellent layer that splashes back urine when it hits, news agency AFP reported.
The special spray-on liquid is being applied at nearly a dozen sites in London’s Soho, a hub of entertainment and leisure consisting of a warren of bars, restaurants, theatres and other venues as well as residential apartments.
“It is very effective, the proof is in the pudding,” local councillor Aicha Less told AFP, while demonstrating the transparent paint’s splash-back ability with a bottle of water.
Westminster City Council has launched the initiative following complaints from some of Soho’s approximately 3,000 residents, as well as from workers and business operators.
“Obviously pee isn’t very pleasant and our residents are very upset,” Aicha Less added.
“They step out of their front door in the morning and just get the stench of urine,” she added. Locals are “entitled to live in a clean, safe environment”.
The Westminster City Council took the idea after it was previously used by another local authority in Germany.
Contractors were seen erecting the signs at targeted sites saying they have been sprayed and the message: “This wall is not a urinal.”
Westminster spends nearly £1 million (US$1.24 million) annually on street cleaning, which includes hosing down peed-on side streets. It hopes this new strategy will lower that bill.
“We’ll see what impact it makes in, say, six months’ time and if there is less of a stench in the air,” said Less.
The 0.6 sq km district in the heart of London boasts of more than 400 premises licensed to sell alcohol, around a quarter of them late into the night.
Westminster City Council is also looking at handing out more fines for public urination, a criminal offence that could cost offenders £50 (US$62) or £80.
It has also rolled out temporary urinal stands in various Soho locations from Thursday to Sunday, when the area is busiest.
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