Airpnp: Polish activists cause stink with toilet-sharing app

An urban planning movement in Warsaw made headlines in Poland when it shared ads for a new app that supposedly lets users rent their toilets for a fee.

“We all have basic physiological needs,” said the advertisement for Airpnp (Air Poo and Pee). “Many of us find it difficult to use public restrooms. It is often difficult to quickly find a nearby or clean enough restroom. Now you don’t have to worry about that.”

It’s unclear how many went to download the app or were put off by the multiple hygiene issues the concept raises.

Anyway, the app was later revealed to be a fake. It was a set-up to highlight an alleged lack of public toilets in the Polish capital.

“We were thinking about how to raise the issue of the lack of availability of public toilets in the city in the city, and we thought that if we raised this issue in a standard way, we might not get much attention” , said Jan Mencwel, President. of Miasto Jest Nasze, told Euronews.

The fake ad resembles an app that was tested at Mardi Gras in New Orleans in 2014, which allowed people to charge members of the public to use their private restrooms.

Within 24 hours of posting it online, the Polish ad had been shared by hundreds of users on Facebook and Twitter, as well as picked up by some national media, including Polsat News and Business Insider.

Some recognized it as a stunt, others did not.

“In the 80s people thought we would have flying cars… What do we have? An app to make money by sharing toilets,” one person wrote on Twitter.

“I can provide a litter box,” one user joked.

Mencwel said the idea to campaign for more public toilets came about after Miasto Jest Nasze discovered that Warsaw had far fewer public toilets than some neighboring capitals.

Looking at the Polish capital’s total, it recorded 153 toilets, which is “not terrible, but not good compared to Berlin and Prague”, which have 653 and 243 respectively.

As well as drawing attention to the lack of public toilets in Warsaw, Mencwel also said his association thinks it would be interesting to “raise the question whether the peer-to-peer model used by Uber and Airbnb has any many flaws that we don’t see”. .

“It’s based on interactions between people, but at the same time monetizing those interactions, and often based on a lack of public services,” he said. “And also a lack of regulation and a lack of control.”

Euronews contacted Airbnb for comment but had not received a response at the time of publication. Uber declined to comment.

Miasto Jest Nasze, which is the biggest movement of its kind in Poland and has seen candidates elected to the district council, aims to build support for the idea of ​​sustainable development and modernization of the city.

The political association has created an app in light of the public toilet findings, which takes data on their location from the city authority’s website and presents it in a mobile-ready format.

Mencwel said the association encourages people to check the toilets marked on the map to see what condition they are in and email them to imp.

The group plans “to add more information so that when you’re on the street you can see via your mobile phone whether these are suitable facilities for people with disabilities, pregnant women or people with a small child, for example”.

Euronews contacted the office of the mayor of Warsaw but had not received a response at the time of publication.

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