How Amsterdam is tackling public urination with an innovative solution

Image Source: CNN

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its breathtaking canals are a sight to behold, and they have helped the city gain the moniker ‘The Venice of the North.’

And to ensure that this city remains pristine and beautiful, the local council has come up with an innovative solution to tackle the menace of people urinating on the streets. It has installed hemp-filled, sustainable urinals called GreenPees across the areas where public urination is rampant.

The first impression that one would have of the GreenPees is that of a planter with verdant greenery on the top. However, closer observation would make one notice an opening in the side, where people can urinate. So, these interesting planters double up as public urinals.

These out-of-the-box solution is manufactured by the Dutch company Urban Senses.

“Peeing against a wall is going to damage historic buildings,” the founder of GreenPees Richard de Vries said. “It is dirty, unhygienic and attracts flies. We came up with the idea of a planter to help keep the city green and provide something we can make fertiliser from.”

Initially, a pilot project was launched in 2018 by De Vries in collaboration with the city council. And the results were astonishing: a substantial change in public behaviour was noticed – a reported 49 per cent decrease in the number of people urinating publicly in the Schapensteeg Alley was observed.

Image Source: CNN

This prompted the authorities to invest 50,000 euros to order more GreenPees for the city.

The benefits of the GreenPees are manifold. For instance, the urine collected from GreenPees is used for processing and phosphate harvesting. The organic fertilizer and water that is produced can be used to water the city’s green spaces. Also, this clearly protects historical buildings and monuments across the city from the detrimental and corrosive effects of urine. Further, the greener helps attract insects and bees that would help immensely in maintaining an ecological balance and for pollination.

But the benefits of GreenPees do not end there. Apart from beautifying the city, they also are odour-free!

Currently, there are 12 GreenPees installed across Amsterdam and the Dutch cities of Vlaardingen and Beekbergen are also using them.

And De Vries does not want to stop. He is researching how GreenPees can be used to produce electricity!

Wow! Isn’t this absolutely wonderful? Do let us know your views on GreenPees, the sustainable urinals, in the comments section below.

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