Euro 2012

Trying not to make a big stink

02.04.2012 | By Semen Zaporozhets

How Ukraine and Poland are dealing with sanitation challenges

No one really wants to think about waste disposal management at the best of times, but especially not on the eve of a glamour event such as the European Football Championship. However, someone has to, and he or she has to think about it very seriously, since the surge in people milling about this event will put a great strain on the host cities sewage infrastructure. In this article, we discuss the situation with public toilets in the four host cities in Ukraine and how co-host Poland has been taking care of this unpleasant business


The powers-that-be have touted time and again that one of the benefits of EURO 2012 would be dramatic improvements in infrastructure, and Ukraine is well behind most European countries in the provision of public sanitation facilities. Poland, at the outset of this renovation process, was not far ahead; however, since the nation won the bid to co-host the tournament, it has taken an interesting approach to the sanitation challenge. The issue of public toilets in host cities of EURO 2012 was taken under control four years ago by the NGO Cleanness Patrols, which is a campaign to inspect public toilets in order to ensure that they meet acceptable standards. Activists of the Cleanness Patrols campaign inspect toilets for cleanness, accessibility, safety and signage. Toilets that meet the basic requirements are granted the title Clean Toilet. The dedicated website hosts a ranking of cities by condition of public toilets. At the moment, Poznan holds the top position, followed by Warsaw, Wrozlaw, and bringing up the rear the port city of Gdansk. Overall, the following number of public toilets can be found in the Polish host cities: 176 in Warsaw, 126 in Wrozlaw, 95 in Poznan, and 225 in Gdansk. However, only 194 toilets boast the status of clean toilet in all four cities together. Even so, in Poland the issue of toilets is widely covered and closely monitored, while the situation in Ukraine is not so transparent and optimistic.

In Ukraine, organizers plan to install 400 portable toilets in Kyiv alone for EURO 2012, primarily in the busiest places, the main one being the fanzone on Khreshchatyk and a 1.5 km zone around Olympic Stadium. Deputy chief of the EURO 2012 Preparations Committee in Kyiv, Mykola Malyuha, has said that 70,000 people are expected to gather in the city center and fanzone area, and so plans are afoot to install around 100 toilets, portable and fixed, connected to the citys sewerage system. Also, private investors are now involved in the program, and will finance installation of these toilets. Once the tournament ends, the toilets will be removed.

UAH 20 mn was allocated for repair and putting into operation public toilets in Kyiv. The dedicated municipal company KyivVodFond is responsible for all public fixed toilets in the capital. Today, there are 90 public toilets, of which 37 are operational, on the balance of the company. Of the 37 commodes, seven public toilets work only in the spring-summer period. Clearly, without the help of private investors the problem cannot be settled by EURO 2012. Ukrainian officials, however, are full of hope. Malyuha has stated that City Hall has instructed that all public catering places must let visitors use their toilets free of charge. The big question, however, is whether Kyivs cafes and restaurants will be happy about admitting fans who might have excessively indulged in the consumption of a range of potent beverages.

Officials in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Lviv have the same expectations, but each city is finding its own solution. Donetsk has decided that five public facilities will be enough, but they will be very expensive portable toilets. In Lviv, the situation with toilets is more problematic. Based on the information provided by city hall, the city has 20 public toilets, of which only ten are functioning. Also, of the total number of city toilets, 14 are rented out and another four are private. In the center, of the 12 existing toilets only six are functioning and in some districts no public toilets can be found. In the most densely populated Sykhivskiy district, only one toilet is open for business, and it is not used. Even if all existing public toilets will be put into use, it will not alleviate the dire situation. According to European standards, a city such as Lviv should support at least 170 public toilets.

According to Oleh Zasadniy, Director of the EURO 2012 Department at Lviv City Hall, municipal authorities are counting on toilets at public catering places and EURO facilities (stadium, airport, hotels, fanzone). Lviv officials believe that tournament guests can relieve themselves either in a hotel room, at the place where they eat or at the stadium. Fifteen six-meter long containers connected to the sewerage system will be installed in the fanzone. This might just be enough.

Kharkiv is also experiencing serious shortage of public toilets. Local fans joke that there are many trees on the way from Metallist Stadium to the city center. For the sake of full disclosure, guests of EURO 2012 should know that it is an administrative offense to relieve oneself in the street or in a public park. The offense is classified as minor hooliganism and punishable by a UAH 51-170 fine.

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