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Paris Installs Controversial 'Solution' to Public Urination


A journalist poses in front of a bright red, eco-friendly urinal on the Ile Saint-Louis along the Seine River in Paris, France, Aug. 13, 2018.

In Paris, there is an experiment under way to find an environmental solution to the unsightly urban problem of men urinating in the street. However, the project has prompted strong reactions from some residents and visitors.

The city has turned to open-air street urinals, called "uritrottoirs" and "pavement urinals," which are similar to planters with an opening in the front and a floral display on top. The receptacles contain straw, which transforms into compost for later use in parks and gardens.

Some see the pavement urinals as an innovation that might help rid the French capital of unpleasant sights and smells, while others complain that the bright red boxes are a blight on the city's picturesque streets.

"It is definitely a desirable and historic neighborhood, but seeing people urinating right in front of your door is not the nicest thing," said a 28-year-old resident.

However, at least one visitor sees advantages.

"It's a little bit open ... in the open space," said Jonathan, who is from the U.S. "So some people might feel uncomfortable. But, again, if you need to go, it's better than going on the street."

The Reuters news agency reports that reaction to the urinals has been mixed, prompting the local government to reconsider the project in September.

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