Spanish city charges $750 to pee in the ocean

Spanish city charges $750 to pee in the ocean

Vigo, a lovely ocean resort in Galicia, Spain, has made it unaffordable to all but the very rich to urinate in or around the ocean. Until the city builds more public toilets there, less affluent beachgoers are advised to just hold it and have antibiotics on hand for the resultant urinary tract infection.

Universal access to public toilets should be a basic human right. And a have been fighting for them for a long time. From The Economist:

The story is a long one. In the 1950s and 60s civil-rights protesters decried “whites only” latrines. An Oakland assemblywoman, Margaret Fong Eu, took a sledgehammer to a toilet wrapped in chains outside the state capitol in 1969 to protest against pay toilets in public buildings, arguing that they placed an undue burden on women because urinals were often free. Activists poured fake urine over the steps of Harvard’s Lowell Hall in 1973 demanding “potty parity”, the equitable distribution of male and toilet females.

In recent years Starbucks has become the de facto public toilet, and CEO Howard Schultz seemed to support that concept. Until recently, that is. From Curbed:

Howard Schultz, citing unspecified concerns about “security” and “hardening our stores,” said at a New York Times forum that the company was reconsidering the open-to-all bathroom policy that it set in place in 2018. He is using the language of preventing gun violence, but you have to assume that this is mostly about allowing access by unhoused people and the effect Their presence has on paying customers in the coffee shops. Starbucks is within its rights to do this, of course. It’s a private company, and its bathrooms are not civic property. Most businesses — in New York City, at least — won’t let noncustomers use the toilets; many restrict their use to staff only.

New York City has just four public tolites open in the evening. One thing I love about visiting Japan is that I never have to worry about not being able to find a public toilet there.

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