Tuesday 6 December 2016

Toilet humour? San Francisco puts anti-pee paint on walls

Published 13/08/2015 | 07:33

A public works employee demonstrates how water bounces off a wall covered with repellent paint outside a Mission District transit station in San Francisco (AP)
A public works employee demonstrates how water bounces off a wall covered with repellent paint outside a Mission District transit station in San Francisco (AP)
A sign above a wall covered with a repellant paint asks people to hold it outside a transit station in San Francisco (AP)

Public urination has gotten so bad in San Francisco that the city has painted nine walls with a repellent paint that makes pee spray back on the offender.

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It is the latest effort to address a chronic problem in a city where the public works director calls himself Mr Clean - walls are coated with a clear, liquid-repellent material that goes on much like paint.

Hit with urine, it splashes back on a person's shoes and trousers.

Mohammed Nuru, director of San Francisco's public works department, says offenders will need to make the mistake only once to get the idea. "If you have to go," he said, "go in the right place."

Mr Nuru got the idea from Germany, where walls in Hamburg's St Pauli quarter are painted with the material to encourage late-night beer drinkers to find a bathroom rather than an alleyway.

A San Francisco lamp-post corroded by urine recently fell on a car. The city appears to be the only one in the nation using the paint, and it has already receiving a stream of queries.

"We are getting calls from all over the place: Washington, DC, Hawaii and Oakland," said Mr Nuru.

Signs hanging above some walls read: "Hold it! This wall is not a public restroom. Please respect San Francisco and seek relief in an appropriate place."

Other efforts also are under way.

Solar-powered toilets roll through city streets several afternoons a week, attendants are manning public toilets to encourage people to use them, and city crews will check thousands of light posts to make sure they will topple.

Public urination is illegal, but a fine of up to 500 dollars passed in 2002 has seen little success.

Press Association

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