More and more people in the Flemish city of Ghent are taking their ‘business’ to the streets, now that most public bathrooms have been shut down due to the pandemic.
The number of cases where people relieved themselves in the public domain shot up during and after the lockdown, due to a lack of clean and available bathrooms.
The ombudswoman of Ghent, Helena Nachtergaele, called for a larger investment in clean public sanitary services now that the city is experiencing more so-called "rogue poopers," Het Nieuwsblad reports.
“With the closure of local service centres, their bathrooms were no longer available to the public,” Nachtergaele said. “There appeared to be a great lack of classic toilets. That resulted in the phenomenon of rogue pooping.”
“We need to make sure facilities are frequently and thoroughly sanitised.”
Especially for Ghent’s homeless people, finding a nearby available bathroom proved to not be an easy task. “Not having sufficient access to a basic need like a toilet is an additional impairment to human dignity,” Nachtergaele added.
The city has received repeated complaints on public bathrooms being too dirty, having become the target of vandalism, or being too hard to find.
Ghent is currently undertaking a study to determine the public need and analyse the public bathrooms on offer. A yearly budget of €790,000 has been made available for cleaning services.
The Brussels Times