“How can India stop people urinating in public?”
May 26, 2014 12:11 PM   Subscribe


 
I'm reasonably certain that this is all a big set-up, and the "pissers" are in on the joke.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:11 PM on May 26, 2014


Ugh. Replace the walls with public restrooms or quit being jerks.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:18 PM on May 26, 2014 [6 favorites]


Bunch of middle class jessies humiliating working people. No tanks.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:31 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Middle class jessies can't afford tanks. You'll need to look to the upper classes to bring those out.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 12:33 PM on May 26, 2014


If you've never visited a country where public urination is a normal custom, you would see that it transcends "class lines" (having spent so much time trying to survive in the real world, I haven't had time to look up the correct textbook Marxist terminology). It's very liberating to be able to take a leak on the way home from the bars, even if there are public restrooms in the convenience store down the street.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:53 PM on May 26, 2014


I first imagined a tanker toilet truck being summoned by cell phone when it got enough calls. Sigh.
posted by Brian B. at 1:07 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Public urination & defecation are a huge public health issue - like really huge. It might also be a class-based humiliation thing, but first and foremost using a toilet and not public spaces is about health.
posted by facetious at 1:12 PM on May 26, 2014 [13 favorites]


Public urination & defecation are

... two different things. Is there actually a problem with public urination other than offending our sensibilities?
posted by me & my monkey at 1:27 PM on May 26, 2014 [6 favorites]


Yeah... this is either a piece of viral marketing performance art, with everyone involved in on it, or some pretty vile bullshit.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:33 PM on May 26, 2014


Yeah, this is a horrible way to convey a message. When you hit some someone with a high pressure jet while they have their hand(s) full and their back turned you're pretty likely to cause serious injury. Even you warn them and try to be careful you're still taking one hell of a risk.

If these public widdlers aren't performers working off a script then IMHO this is more like a crime in progress than a public service message. Not cool.
posted by samworm at 1:45 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


Although urine is sterile, once it hits the ground it's basically a nutrient bath for bacteria. A lot of public urination is done within feet of the water used for washing and bathing. Although I think this is a heavy-handed stunt, I do empathize with the need to curb public urination.

At the risk of being a hypocrite, one of the happiest moments of my life was when I urinated behind a dumpster after a drinking jag in NYC back in my 20's. It was a blustery cold day and the eternity I spent relieving myself was spiced up by the ecstatic thrill of knowing that I was scoffing at the law and the slight chance that a beat cop might happen upon my furtive nicturation. I wasn't even hung over the next day.
posted by Renoroc at 1:53 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that the method for curtailing public urination is the same as the method for curtailing public defecation, though.


Construct public appropriate public infrastructure so that people can have access to toilets in or near their homes.

Spraying people with hoses doesn't help anything.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:54 PM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


It takes more than constructing public toilets, unfortunately, although that is OBVIOUSLY a big step.

For a lot of these communities, just constructing public toilets without finding a way to keep them safe means they're more of a problem than a relief - are they havens for assault? If it's flowing water, how do you keep people who live in homes without running water from doing their laundry in it?

I totally recommend a fantastic read by Rose George called The Big Necessity, about the efforts to bring sanitation to all communities. It's not just a big lecture, I promise - it's very entertaining reading.
posted by taterpie at 1:59 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is a stunt right? The evil twin of the Ugly Indian, names notwithstanding? The Ugly Indian did so much better in trying to curb public urination. (previously)
posted by hellopanda at 2:03 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


When you hit some someone with a high pressure jet while they have their hand(s) full and their back turned you're pretty likely to cause serious injury. Even you warn them and try to be careful you're still taking one hell of a risk.

It need not go to waste though! Imagine rolling this through Boston, New York, or DC hosing down cat-callers and wolf-whistlers. What a blast of incredibly prompt lawsuits.
posted by Slackermagee at 2:13 PM on May 26, 2014


When you've got a bladder full of piss, everything looks like a toilet.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:35 PM on May 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


I assume women just...hold it until they get home? Since public urination doesn't seem to be so much an option? While peeing in front of everyone and potentially messing up the drinking water is bad, it also strikes me as bad that women appear to have no option, not even that.

Of course, here in the wealthy west, we are busy getting rid of public conveniences, just in case some homeless person or one of the poors might use one.
posted by Frowner at 3:20 PM on May 26, 2014 [8 favorites]


One of the joys of places like San Francisco is trying to find a public bathroom while at the same time people complain about all the homeless doing it right out on the streets. It's almost like there's some kind of connection there, though to be fair there are a handful of those automatic toilets. I mean they exist, but they're usually broken or a horror show.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:56 PM on May 26, 2014


I assume women just...hold it until they get home?

I don't know statistics or what specific country's attitudes are to women urinating in public, but anecdotally, I have been to many countries where public urination is no uncommon, and seen woman squat down in the street. If all you've got on is some kind of dress or skirt, it's actually pretty easy and, in some ways, more modest than the male equivalent.
posted by retrograde at 3:57 PM on May 26, 2014


I assume women just...hold it until they get home? Since public urination doesn't seem to be so much an option? While peeing in front of everyone and potentially messing up the drinking water is bad, it also strikes me as bad that women appear to have no option, not even that.

I am far from an expert and happy to be corrected, but in many places where public urination is de rigueur, I believe that women do indeed just take a squat beside the road or whatever, yes (obvs not the case in Japan, for example).
posted by smoke at 3:58 PM on May 26, 2014


jinx retrograde.
posted by smoke at 3:59 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is a horrible thing to do to people, whatever point you're making, so I really hope it's a publicity stunt and everyone involved is in on the joke. Building more toilets plus an education campaign would seem a better use of time and money.

That said, and despite the fact that pissing in the street is unhygienic, when I come back in my next life as a man it will primarily be for the ability to piss anywhere at any time. Oh the freedom! I'd give up all the other perks of the patriarchy just to avoid the bladder pain you get while dying for a wee after a few drinks and having to queue behind twenty women in the toilets.
posted by billiebee at 3:59 PM on May 26, 2014


Is there actually a problem with public urination other than offending our sensibilities?
posted by me & my monkey at 9:27 PM on May 26


Oh, not at all. I just love stepping into pools of urine and then treading it all over public transport, or my carpets. Can't see a problem at all. Not even slightly.
posted by Decani at 4:09 PM on May 26, 2014 [12 favorites]


I assume women just...hold it until they get home?

Only if they have a home. The homelessness rate in India is massive, which contributes a great deal to the problem of public urination/defecation. In 2011, the census found that over 40% of Mumbai's population lived in slums, ie had no access to toilet facilities. That figure doesn't even include the actually homeless population, which is difficult to measure, but some estimate to be over 150K.

Overall, half of the Indian population has no access to toilets.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:42 PM on May 26, 2014 [5 favorites]


India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, campaigned (and won) on a platform that included 'toilets before temples'.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:44 PM on May 26, 2014 [5 favorites]


2011 census data here, for anyone who is interested.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:51 PM on May 26, 2014


India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, campaigned (and won) on a platform that included 'toilets before temples'.

Maybe putting public toilets in all the temples would do the trick.
posted by Brian B. at 4:55 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Taj Mahal reeks of urine. (At least it did a few years ago.) You're free to try to turn this into a class thing, but it's not the desperately poor paying to go see the Taj and piss on it. Also, they have free public bathrooms! All the people pissing on it are walking right past the bathrooms to duck behind a wall and spray urine everywhere.

There's some cultural issues at play here. The thread about the campaign to stop shitting in the street pointed that out, some people think going into a small special room to defecate is weird.
posted by Dynex at 4:57 PM on May 26, 2014


This is the previous thread Dynex mentions and in particular this comment acknowledging that not everyone is clamouring to use the toilets as soon a they are built. People have habits and aren't quick to change them.
posted by RobotHero at 5:29 PM on May 26, 2014


That said, spraying people with water would be an obnoxious way of changing someone's habits, and I suspect this is more likely a media stunt than genuine vigilante activity.
posted by RobotHero at 5:40 PM on May 26, 2014


when I come back in my next life as a man it will primarily be for the ability to piss anywhere at any time. Oh the freedom!

This is the trade off: when I come back in my next life as a woman it will primarily be for the multiple orgasms.
posted by Wet Spot at 5:45 PM on May 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


The Taj Mahal reeks of urine.

So, to an astonishing degree, does downtown Sydney, Australia, especially on hot Saturday and Sunday mornings, or at least it did 15 years back (is it that long already?) when I lived there.

I am pretty fully behind blasting street-pissers with water cannons (although I admit I did have to pay a bit of a mordita in old city Cancun about 20 years back when I got spotted by the cops urinating in bladder-desperation where I shouldn't have been, so you know peeing in glass houses or something).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:01 PM on May 26, 2014


when I got spotted by the cops urinating in bladder-desperation where I shouldn't have been, so you know peeing in glass houses or something).

Stavros, that was you???
posted by etaoin at 7:14 PM on May 26, 2014


Of course, earlier this year, I noticed that all the automatic public toilets in Paris were now free (where they had previously cost something like .5 euros/3 francs). This is cool for both homeless people and for tourists who like to drink wine in the park in the afternoon.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:21 PM on May 26, 2014


So, to an astonishing degree, does downtown Sydney, Australia, especially on hot Saturday and Sunday mornings, or at least it did 15 years back (is it that long already?) when I lived there.

Do you mean from the homeless people that concentrate in the CBD, or from the 3am doings of drunk teenagers stumbling home from the nightclubs?

Apparently this is a recognised issue. The City of Sydney put out a public toilet strategy for consultation last year. Summary. Interestingly, they are trialling installing public 'pop-up' urinals in nightclub districts to reduce the hammered teenage boy effect. And, like in France, they are also making all council-operated public toilets free.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:31 PM on May 26, 2014


Do you mean from the homeless people that concentrate in the CBD, or from the 3am doings of drunk teenagers stumbling home from the nightclubs?

My olfactory powers, formidable as they were at the time, were unable to distinguish between the many varieties of stale pee, sadly.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:46 PM on May 26, 2014 [9 favorites]


Hannibal would be ashamed of you, stavros.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:14 PM on May 26, 2014


So, to an astonishing degree, does downtown Sydney, Australia

In my memory, Chicago always smelled like pee in many strategic locations on downtown streets or "L" platforms, and so did many parts of NYC in the 1980s. I really do believe that public urination went into steep decline for a variety of reasons including the willingness of local authorities to use sex criminal statutes to prosecute (which I abhor, naturally, but I suspect was a factor nonetheless). Bottom line is that this is certainly not a Third World or even necessarily entrenched poverty problem.

some people think going into a small special room to defecate is weird.

ISTR this precise point coming up with Karl Pilkington in India in the An Idiot Abroad episode.
posted by dhartung at 11:18 PM on May 26, 2014


Men pissing on buildings is actually a problem. And not just because of the smell, even though that is bad enough in some places.

Yes, women sometimes piss in public as well, but they rarely manage to hit walls. In this case, it's mostly men doing the damage.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:03 AM on May 27, 2014


Here's one possible solution: sheets of stainless steel that can be fitted into corners and will make urine splatter back onto the clothes and shoes of whoever tries to urinate on them.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:15 AM on May 27, 2014


Helsinki has a culture of public urination, especially nights and weekends. There are spots which are stained and those which reek in teh summer. As an Indian, who thought it was only nasty local men who did this, was I surprised to discover this little aspect of Finland.
posted by infini at 5:09 AM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


I find it interesting that both infini and the article of the Indian person that is linked in the FP link talk about this being a problem with men in India (the linked article argues that one reason men do it is to show their superiority to women) but many people here argue that it must be poverty. The way the women in the video laugh I also got the impression that at least in the places where this video was made the biggest problem is with men and in that case, I don't think it has much to do with access to toilets in general.

I live in a European city that recently put out a lot more urinals for men, and upped the penalty for public urination. I guess it's nice for men that there are now more urinals, but I feel it was the wrong solution. The problem was: there are not enough public bathrooms and people don't like to have to go out of their way to go to a bathroom somewhere, so men peed in public and women went out of their way anyway because they had to. Instead of solving the problem of not enough bathrooms by making public bathrooms, they solved the problem of men peeing everywhere, by giving them urinals. Now women still have to go out of their way to find a place to pee (or just stay home because they don't dare going out for fear of peeing in their pants), but I guess that's not a problem that anyone feels important to solve.
posted by blub at 5:59 AM on May 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


It sounds like the problem was men peeing everywhere and they fixed it. How would anyone else know that "people don't like to have to go out of their way to go to a bathroom somewhere" if these people make it a point to not make it anyone else's problem?
posted by deathmaven at 7:54 AM on May 27, 2014


Men do it because they can with impunity. What it implies I don't know.
posted by infini at 8:45 AM on May 27, 2014


The pee smell in the otherwise clean and shiny train station in Palo Alto is 50-50 from a homeless person or from a drunk Stanford undergrad who can't be bothered holding it until he gets back to his dorm.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:38 AM on May 27, 2014


One of the joys of places like San Francisco is trying to find a public bathroom

Hah, I went to Cambria pretty recently and they have closed all of their public restrooms specifically due to the drought. Good lord, what are we coming to.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:36 PM on May 27, 2014


Is there a place—Singapore or somewhere—where there are public dog toilets? Seems like dogs are always going to the toilet. I know, I know, not *all* dogs. But seriously. Step up to the plate, Starbucks. Stop pretending to be pals with the farmers and attend to your customers, hundreds of Dalmatians.
posted by zbsachs at 9:23 PM on May 27, 2014


« Older Before Delany, before Butler   |   Velvet Underground / Exploding... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments