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‘Elegant crap’: Paris urinal project turns into social media pissing contest

Elegant crap

If you can’t beat them, join them. Paris has done just that by providing public urinators with a more sanitized place to whizz in the open. But not everyone is pleased with public urinals popping up around the City of Love.

A war against street soilage has prompted Paris authorities to roll out a number of devices known as uritrottoirs, which are essentially toilets for urine mounted on top of flower boxes.

The boxes are currently in place on Place Henri Frenay, Square Tino Rossi, Ille Saint-Louis and Boulevard de Clichy, home to the Moulin Rouge and once the subject of renowned artist Vincent van Gogh. According to the Parisian government, the red urine-collection boxes are filled with straw, which will reduce foul smells and, when filled, can be used for fertilizing plants.

The novel idea comes from Faltazi, a ecological design company based in Nantes. While the urinals may help to curb unsanitary habits, a number of people have taken to social media to express their concern and poke fun at the project.

Laurence Parisot, former head of employer’s union MEDEF, described the attempt as “elegant crap.”

“You really have to have a big prostate problem to choose to relieve yourself there,” another person posted, regarding a urinal placed in the famous tourist hotspot of Boulevard de Clichy.

Francois Giordano said his main problem with the project was the lack of hand-washing facilities and the risk of indecent exposure. “Their withdrawal is necessary,” he tweeted.

Mayor of the 4th District of Paris Ariel Weil has defended the initiative, however, saying the problem is not the uritrottoirs but those who urinate openly on the street.

“The enemy is not the urinal, it’s the urine everywhere,” Weil tweeted.

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