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Dutch men to get electrified potty-training

By Adriana Stuijt     Jan 9, 2009 in Environment
A Dutch water company is going to install electrified wiring in the protected sand dunes along the north sea - to discourage micturators from befouling a treasured bit of unspoilt sand dune.
The millions of micturators strolling through this landscape each year enroute to the wide North Sea beaches, also are befouling this tiny but very important bit of nature reserve. It's also the only fresh-water catchment area for the cities of The Hague and Rotterdam.
One shouldn't just stroll around peeing in your own drinking water but, just like males do all over the world, the Dutch blokes also take a fiendish delight in getting away with their pointing habits as much, as frequently, and where-ever they can. Put them next to a wall, a tree or a stream, a school wall or a church, that urge will hit them, especially if they run in male-hunting pack macho-mode.
However overcrowded Holland is going to extreme lengths to re-educate their micturators into depositing their streams in the eco-urinoirs which are placed strategically along the pathways. Many municipalities also place 'ambush flashlights' in strategic dark places where the micturating mobs are often seen to congregate the most.
The constabulary is also constantly handing out thousands of spot-fines each day. There are thousands of male urinoirs everywhere. And there even used to be an ad on public TV telling the guys that it's really not all that macho to micturate in public. But they pointedly keep ignoring all the rules.
The problem with the Dutch sand dunes however, is that this one tiny bit of nature-reserve also is the major fresh-water catchment area for the cities of capital city of The Hague and the huge harbour town of Rotterdam.
This one tiny 200 hectare, carefully nurtured bit of sand dune, where every bird, mammal and butterfly is carefully counted each year, where every bush and blade of grass is accounted for, is also located just outside the upmarket suburb of Castricum. That's why the dunes also get 7 million visitors a year.
The main reason for this massive traffic flow is the fact that the meandering footpaths provide a pleasant stroll enroute to the beach, said water company PWN's spokesman Gerbrand Corbee.
"However, the Castricum water filtration area is not meant to be used as a public toilet, yet we are constantly finding a lot of unsavoury deposits which do represent a threat to public health' he said. So it's not only the pointers, but also the squatters who are befouling the landscape. They want to put an end to it. The water company is installing electrified wiring along the pathways to zap the micturators and defecators where it hurts the most. It won't injure them, but it will certainly 'discourage them'. Every time people stroll off the path to either squat or point, they'd get zapped ever so slight by by an electrified wire. That will teach them - or so he hopes.
Pavlov's dogs:
It's rather similar to the conditioned reflex-training developed by Russian scientist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov so long ago. Pavlov noticed that his lab dogs drooled whenever spotting a white coated assistant -- because they brought them food, not because they wanted to bite the hands that fed them. So he started striking a bell whenever the dogs were fed; the dogs learnt to associate the sound of the bell with food - and after a while the mere sound of the bell would set them to drooling. Play the Pavlov game here - teach your dog how to drool on command.
In a very similar way, all those millions of Dutchmen strolling so carelessly through the Castricum sand-dunes each year, now are also going to get conditioned reflect-training : except in this case, the intention is to train the pointers and squatters from not depositing any unsavoury products in nature.
The rabbits, voles and small deer living here won't be bothered by the wires: it's high enough for them to stroll underneath, he said. However the animal welfare society isn't so happy with the plan: they'd prefer even more of those eco-toilets in the landscape.
More about Urinating public, Dutch water catchment, Castricum, Hague
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