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German party district using science, rewards to curb public urination

Posted at 12:03 PM, Mar 10, 2015

What’s the best way to stop drunk people from relieving themselves on walls in public areas? One popular German party district is giving them a sample of their own medicine.

A community interests group in the St. Pauli district of Hamburg have coated a pair of outside walls with a superhydrophobic substance — something that makes liquids literally bounce off of surfaces — with the goal of making urine splash back directly onto the miscreant micturator.

The German news service Spiegelspoke with 44-year-old Julia Staron, a spokesperson for the responsible group, who said the program is about sending a message.

“St. Pauli can defend [itself],” Staron told a reporter, when asked what the message was. She said the coating will likely be used on the district’s most frequent sites for public urination. But the process isn’t cheap. Staron estimated it cost about 500 euros ($536) to cover 6 square meters.

In addition to urine-proofing the district’s walls, the group has posted signs warning against public urination and plans to unroll an incentive-based program that will reward people who actually use a toilet.

Staron said visitors will be given a card that is stamped anytime they visit a toilet in a bar or restaurant and the sixth stamp equals “a shot on the house.”

For a look at how superhydrophobic surfaces work, see the below video from Brigham Young University.

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.