It’s been a problem as long as guys have been drinking beer. There’s not always a nearby place to relieve one’s self. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the problem. Fewer public rest rooms are open. Many businesses although open, have closed their facilities, even to customers.
Public urination causes problems and not just of decorum. Urine has a corrosive effect on buildings and other structures. (In my urban neighborhood, it’s mostly dogs leaving their stains and aroma on building corners, pillars and posts.) In the city of Amsterdam, fifteen people a year fall in and drown when pissing into canals. But the city is doing something about what they call the “wild peeing.”
A Dutch company is marketing “GreenPee,” a stand-alone urinal that requires no plumbing or sewer connection. GreenPee is a planter with vegetation growing out if it. On the side is an opening with a target zone for a person to aim at. Inside the planter is hemp which captures the urine. Amsterdam says that since they began installing GreenPee planters in 2018, wild peeing has been reduced by half. (They have also installed a few retractable urinals for women.) The hemp-urine mixture is composted and becomes a phosphate-rich organic fertilizer.
The GreenPee has a reservoir to collect rainwater for the greenery at the top of the unit. The planters also attract bees and other insects that are necessary for a healthy ecosystem.
GreenPee not only gives people something to aim at, but also converts that urine into something useful. A few of these could be helpful in our cities’ tent encampments.