Anti-Pee Paint Is Being Used to Deter Drunken Revelers

A city council is currently applying this hydrophobic paint in parts of London to prevent people from urinating on the streets

On a rainy night in Soho, Londoners walk across a pedestrianised Old Compton Street. Due to increased public urination, a splashback paint is being applied to various areas around the city.
"This is rain I'm stepping in, right?"
Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images

With people out drinking during the holidays, you sometimes witness the worst behavior. And that includes the inebriated masses peeing on the streets (occasionally necessary in areas adverse to public toilets, like all of the United States). But some areas of London plan to curb these unwanted streams in an expected way: Anti-pee paint.

Per MyLondon, the Westminster City Council has announced it is “pee back time” (seriously) and has put paint up around Soho that will splash back on anyone who relieves themselves on it. Since we’re doing puns, a note to London’s inebriated people: “Urine” for a surprise.

Apparently, the Westinster council was spending nearly a million pounds per year on pee clean-up, leading to the splashy paint measure. “Everyone likes a drink at Christmas, but people need to have some control,” Soho Society Chairman Tim Lord told the Local Democracy Reporting Service. “There are hundreds of drunk people who meet at pubs in Soho. It’s extraordinary we don’t have more public toilets in Soho. On Houston Street residents just get people urinating on their doors. It’s awful.”

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A few years ago Forbes delved into the science behind the paint, which was being used in the red light district of Hamburg. Basically, it’s two layers of superhydrophobic paint called Ultra-Ever Dry, which creates surface chemistry and texture with patterns of geometric shapes that have “peaks” or “high points”.  These high points repel water, some oils, wet concrete and other liquids.

But as writer Laurie Winkless rightly noted at the time: “It’s just a stopgap and one that totally isolates the homeless. The real solution to removing human waste from the streets is not at all scientific – just build more public toilets!”


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