Public urination really pisses us off, being in India where many people like to assume public walls are their personal latrines. In some cities like Bengaluru, the problem is so bad that citizens keep complaining about the stench emanating from these walls, with 2019 seeing over 100 people being penalised for peeing in public. So, the Bengaluru civic authority has come up with a way to make offenders reflect on their actions.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has put up mirrors across the Garden City to prevent people from peeing on public property. After trying everything from imposing heavy penalties to scribbling abuses against the offenders to plastering pictures of deities on the wall and still failing to curb the public pissing problem, the local civic body decided to get creative by making offenders take a good, hard look at themselves before they take a leak. These large, full-sized mirrors have been placed in various corners and are made from an unbreakable reflective material to prevent people from trying to shatter them. They also come with a QR code that people can scan using their smartphones to locate the nearest public toilet. Messages urging people to use dustbins and reminding them of the ban on single-use plastic are also sprawled across these mirrors.
“The concept of installing the mirrors in the blackspots is to give civic sense and to prevent the public urination in the city. We have installed mirrors in five locations after conducting a survey,” Randeep D, BBMP Special Commissioner, Solid Waste Management (SWM) told The Indian Express.
However, even this novel idea comes with its share of flaws. "To use a QR code, one needs to have a smartphone, but normally the people who actually pee in the open, are not smartphone users. They may not understand why this is here,” a passerby who saw these mirrors being installed told News18. The instructions spelt out on the mirrors are also written in English instead of the local language of Kannada.
While these mirrors may seem like a cool way to combat the problem head-on, one has to also reflect on whether they will actually work. And considering we’re a country where public kissing is seen as a greater offence than public pissing, this solution may backfire. Instead of entitling offenders to just an ordinary wall they can use as a free public toilet, they will now also have access to a mirror to fix their hair or make sure their fly is pulled up after they do the deed. But hey, here’s hoping it prevents at least some people from publicly defecating because who would want to shit on themselves?
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This article originally appeared on VICE IN.