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San Francisco's Poop Problem Is Getting Worse

City has 7.5K homeless, 25 public toilets
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2019 7:54 AM CDT
An attendant looks on as a man enters a Pit Stop public toilet outside a Mission District transit station in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
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(Newser) – If you're going to San Francisco ... be sure to mind your step. Poop on the streets—human as well as animal—is an ever-growing problem in the City by the Bay, with reported incidents of human feces in the streets exploding from 5,500 in 2011 to more than 28,000 last year, Business Insider reports. And that was just the number of incidents logged by the San Francisco Department of Public Works, meaning the true total is probably much higher. Software engineer Jenn Wong launched a "poop map" last year showing where reports are concentrated. San Francisco is one of the wealthiest cities in the country, but it has just 25 public toilets for an estimated homeless population of 7,500, according to the New Yorker. The city's 311 number gets around 75 calls about poop on public streets every day.

The Guardian describes the problem as "the symbol of a human tragedy": the "catastrophic, socially destructive effects of unchecked inequality" and failure of the city to provide for the citizens displaced by gentrification. Board of Supervisors member Matt Haney tells the San Francisco Chronicle that he has ideas that will help keep the streets clean in areas like the Tenderloin, which generates more Public Works calls than anywhere else in the city. He wants at least 10 more "Pit Stop" public toilets in the area, five of them open all night, and says street cleaners should be issued equipment to deal with poop in the streets themselves instead of having to call the "Poop Patrol:" a team that rides around in a vehicle equipped with a steam cleaner. (Poop has been jamming the city's escalators.)

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