Over 50 years ago, I served an LDS mission in northeastern France (Alsace-Lorraine). Public urination was a problem. For example, on the exterior of Strasbourg’s beautiful Gothic cathedral were “defense d’uriner” (don’t urinate) signs. The signs didn’t seem to do a lot of good.
Apparently, public urination is still a problem. According to National Geographic (Nov 2017):
Since before the days of Napoleon, [France] has battled the odorous scourge of les pipis sauvages, or wild peeing. The widespread practice of public urination is technically illegal. But that hasn’t seemed to staunch the streams that pour into the streets, into planter boxes, and onto lampposts.
The city is currently testing a possible solution to the problem. It is called a uritrottoir, or sidewalk urinal, and looks like a boxy trash can with a planter-box lid.
The receptacle is filled with odor-fighting straw or sawdust. When it is full, after about 200 “deposits,” a sensor alerts an attendant to empty the contents. The mixture is taken to a site where it becomes compost, and eventually, the compost becomes plant food.
The devices are fairly expensive at nearly $5,000 each. And they may encourage more public urination, instead of less. But hopefully they will improve the street smells of urban France.
The Uritrottoirs are waterless. So one perhaps unintended consequence of the devices is water conservation.