A new toilet-sharing app, AirPnP (short for Poo and Pee), was recently announced in Warsaw. It would connect people willing to make their private toilets available for a fee with people needing to relieve themselves.
This morning, however, the group behind the venture revealed that – as many had suspected – the “app” was not real and their aim had been to highlight the lack of public toilets in the city and the downsides of the “sharing economy”.
Miasto Jest Nasze, a movement that campaigns to improve life for residents of Poland’s capital, had yesterday announced the app. It would allow smartphone users to look for nearby bathrooms on an interactive map, along with ratings of their cleanliness.
Toilet owners, meanwhile, were told they would be free to accept or deny any application to use their facilities, and that the app would help them earn some money.
“Each of us have basic physiological needs [but] many of us have trouble…finding a public toilet that is near enough or clean enough,” read the AirPnP website. “Now you don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
However, the app – which has been promoted under the slogan “The No.1 app for No.1 & No.2” – immediately attracted scepticism as to whether it was genuine.
While Miasto Jest Nasze claimed to have “received the app for testing”, suggesting that it was a product being made by someone else. But technology website SpidersWeb pointed out that the app’s website domain was owned by Miasto Jest Nasze itself.
This morning, when the app was supposed to officially launch at 9 am, Miasto Jest Nasze admitted that it did not really exist, and that the real aim had been to draw attention to the lack of available (and clean) public toilets in Warsaw.
To help address this, Miasto Jest Nasze have published a map of its own.
Estimates by Warsaw city hall show that there are only 400 public toilets in the capital, reports Polsat. That is an average of one per 4,300 residents – not counting the millions of outside visitors. Over 10 million people travelled to the city last year, according to the Warsaw tourism office.
However, the number of public toilets in Warsaw is similar to other central and eastern European capitals. According to online public toilet finder Pee.Place, Vienna and Budapest – which have similar sized populations to Warsaw – are home to 390 and 169 public toilets respectively, whilst Prague – which is a little smaller – has 243.
In western Europe, public toilets are far more prevalent: London has 620, Berlin has 653, and Paris has 708 – but all are significantly larger cities than Warsaw.