35,000 Pounds Untreated Fecal Material Deposited Daily on Downtown Sidewalks

Downtown Los Angeles Port-Potty Removal

Two weeks ago the city removed several porta-potties located in the Skid Row area. For many of our friends on the streets this was the only restroom they had access to. Below is an advertisement that was placed in the Business Journal by a friend of the Los Angeles Catholic Worker, in an attempt to return public restrooms for the homless. Please call the mayor at (213) 922-9730 or e-mail him at [email protected] and tell him you saw the advertisement from the Business Journal and that you are outraged at the lack of dignity being offered to the homeless.
   On March 31st, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa removed all portable toilets from skid row, toilets used by thousands of homeless for the past 11 years. A homeless person generates seven pounds of fecal material and over a gallon of urine each day. Now, more than 35,000 pounds of untreated human waste daily cover downtown sidewalks,exposing all to the unacceptable risk of contracting deadly diseases as they travel around the city.
   Everyone working or traveling downtown is at risk after tracking fecal material from soiled sidewalks into offices, gyms and restaurants. Contamination with even small amounts of feces can result in large outbreaks of food-borne hepatitis, salmonella or shigellosis as well as E-coli, giardia, amebibiasis, or campylobacter. Health risks are not limited to downtown. They extend to areas receiving surface runoff from skid row after rain or daily sidewalk and street cleaning. Human exposure to fecal material includes bay areas and adjacent beaches.
   The only way to prevent disease and dispose of human waste is to provide toilets.
   The mayor removed the toilets after passing an ordinance against defecating on public sidewalks. Unwelcome in semipublic restrooms of office buildings, hotels and restaurants, the homeless are forced to use public space as an open-air toilet. Instead of toilets, the homeless now get jail time.
   Call the mayor at (213)922-9730 or e-mail him at [email protected] to tell him to place 80 toilets throughout the 50-block skid row. He will tell you the toilets were used for illicit activity. Some were, but all were used also for the intended purpose since huge amounts of human waste were removed twice a day by sanitation workers from all portable toilets. Now that waste is on your sidewalk.


Permanent link to this article: https://www.lacatholicworker.org/wp/2006/04/18/35000-pounds-untreated-fecal-material-deposited-daily-on-downtown-sidewalks/

1 comment

  1. if nothing else one would think that, as mentioned, the mayor would see the basic health risks as large enough problem, already exisiting, to install MORE toilets. This is really such a violent act- to withdrawl the right to relieve oneself.

    was there any reason announced as to why the toilets were removed?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Los Angeles Catholic Worker
%d bloggers like this: