At this Spanish beach, you can get fined for peeing in the water
Is it possible to fine people for urinating in the sea? You can pass legislation that penalizes such a practice, but the question on everyone's mind is: how do you catch the offender?
Abel Caballero, the mayor of the Galician (northern Spanish) town of Vigo, has introduced the new rule: it is forbidden to urinate in the ocean waters where the people of his municipality bathe.
Local Vigo authorities have approved an ordinance that will make it possible to fine people 750 euros ($763 or 637 pounds) if they are caught urinating on the beaches of the municipality.
The fines are both for urinating on the sand and in the water. That's right!
Abel Caballero is an expert in putting his city on the map. Each year he spends a fortune on Christmas lights. They can even be seen from space. And now, in summer, his decree to keep the ocean waters clean of human waste is once again putting Vigo in the international headlines.
From 'The Times' in Britain to 'Le Figaro' in France, everyone is talking about the curious ban on urinating in the sea.
Abel Caballero's strategy could not be simpler and more effective: let them talk about Vigo. He has done it again.
If we analyze the Municipal Ordinance, approved in May 2021, there's no indication whatsoever about how to catch offenders of the peeing ban.
The Ordinance sees urinating on the beach as a minor offense. That's why the fine isn't all too high. But still, an expensive leak!
There's now an increasing conversation ongoing about how the matter might be approached by the police. There's a lot of imagination, myths, and inventiveness at play.
The first element that comes to mind is the legend of the urine tell-tale liquid. According to this theory, this liquid can cause a chemical reaction, drawing a red circle around whoever urinates in the water. It's an urban legend that Vigo knows well.
The red liquid is something everyone knows about in Spain, but no one has ever seen it. To locate red circles in the sea would be incredibly difficult, as the water is in constant movement. And in any case, who do we blame if the water is crowded with people?
Opponents of this supposed experiment with red, tell-tale liquid, say it is not advisable to pour any type of chemical into the Atlantic Ocean. The beach needs to remain clean of all sorts of substances.
Another tactic that has circulated on social media, is to put incognito municipal agents among the bathers and have them scan the water for gusts of hot or warmer water, in order to expose an offender.
For this ridiculous proposal, mayor Caballero could even hire SpongeBob and his companions to control underwater leaks.
Regardless of how he applies his inapplicable regulation, Abel Caballero has already won. Because now, whenever we think of Spanish beaches, Vigo comes to mind.