Cleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 23rd March 2023 Issue no. 1057
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UK littered with bottles of urine due to public toilet closures
With public toilets as well as loos in pubs and shops being closed during the Coronavirus pandemic, there has been an outbreak of what has by some been described as 'fly peeing'.
In the true nature of 'if you got to go, you got to go', waste management company BusinessWaste.co.uk is hearing reports of people turning local beauty spots into public bathrooms, and increasing numbers of bottles of urine appearing along main UK roads.
"Easing of lockdown measures means that people are venturing out for day trips, but unfortunately many councils haven't reopened their public toilet facilities due to social distancing measures," says company spokesman Mark Hall.
"Instead, people are fly-tipping UK roads with bottles of wee - perhaps we ought to rename this environmental crime fly-peeing".
One group that has been a constant on our roads during the lockdown is that of the delivery drivers who have been delivering essential items up and down the country, but Business Waste has heard from many, admitting that they have resorted to using plastic bottles as a substitute toilet.
Many truckers are concerned about not being unable to stop due to a lack of open facilities, or being too frightened to stop at services and potentially risk catching Covid-19.
And that's led to the hideous sight of plastic bottles full of urine in laybys up and down the country. And to be fair, it's not only truck drivers, but regular drivers too.
Trucker Mark tells us: "I'm old and my bladder isn't as strong as it once was, but I haven't been able to stop for a wee because most services have been shut. I've had to pee in my Lucozade bottle, but it tends to get a bit smelly in the cab, so I've thrown a few bottles out of the window."
But not all drivers are participating in this behaviour, with delivery driver Eric telling us:
"I've got a plastic-free reusable bottle that cost me £20 - I would have to be really desperate to use that for a urinal and throw that kind of money away.
"Just pick your spot and go behind a tree, like normal people."
Mark Hall of BusinessWaste.co.uk says: "Just because the toilets are shut and desperate times are leading to desperate measures, we still need to not be adding to the plastic pollution problem by chucking bottles out of the window."
"Some poor waste disposal operative's got to go out and pick up all those stinking bottles. Take your litter home, you animals.
"It's not just the urine - it's also the 35million plastic bottles being thrown away every year in the UK.
"Plastic bottles can take up to 450 years to biodegrade, so if you're chucking one out of the car window full of wee it could be sitting there for years."
The imminent reopening of public toilets comes too late for beauty spots around the UK.
One of many reports comes from a careworker in Burnham-on-sea in Somerset, who says she has had to battle countless people urinating and defecating in public, with several incidences happening against her garden fence. It appears that if the toilets are closed, then desperate people will go wherever want, which unfortunately spoils the area for local residents.
One lady in a resort in Dorset says: "People are travelling the length of the country for a day at the beach, meanwhile those of us who live here have to put up with the horrible sights and smells they leave behind. I found human poo in my front garden, and next door found a bottle full of wee in his recycling bin."
Says Mark Hall: "We're not the police, but we have to remind people that it is illegal to be caught urinating in public, and that if you're seen in the act you could be done for indecent exposure too."
BusinessWaste.co.uk is an expert in recycling and waste disposal for businesses of all kinds.
It is committed to reducing wasteful landfill, and works to help companies increase their recycling targets. It also campaigns for tighter laws to discourage littering, wasteful behaviour, and to encourage greater recycling.
4th June 2020