German residents fight public peeing with ‘splashback’

BERLIN — Residents of Hamburg’s St. Pauli’s nightclub district are getting their own back on late-night revelers who urinate on public buildings, with a new high-tech paint that sends the spray bouncing right back at them.

A local interest group has applied the special water-repellent paint, also used in shipbuilding, on two especially frequented buildings in the renowned nightclub district near the port to deter “Wildpinkler,” as Germans call them.

“This paint job sends a direct message back to perpetrators that their wild urinating on this wall is not welcome,” Julia Staron, who organized the group, told Reuters. “The paint protects the buildings and the residents and most importantly it sends a signal this behavior is not on.”

In a video posted on YouTube that drew 181,000 viewers on its first day alone, Staron is shown putting up signs in German and English that say: “Hier nicht pinkeln! Wir pinkeln zurueck” (Do not pee here! We pee back!).

The special hydrophobe paint is, however, expensive.

Staron said it costs about 500 euros to paint a six-square-meter area (65 square feet), but it was worth the effort and was already having a positive effect on newly protected walls.

“If you compare the work involved for daily cleaning of the mess and the awful smell, as well as all the collateral damage involved, it has definitely been well worth it,” she said.

Staron said her community group came up with the idea after realizing conventional methods were not having the desired effect.

“We tried to analyze the problem and come up with a solution,” she said. “We were especially interested in coming up with an idea that would be suitable for this quarter,” she said, referring to St. Pauli’s famous redlight and nightclub district.

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