John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
In Mexico City, new devices give pedestrians an unusual incentive to clean up after their pets.
This seems too clever by half to be true, but dog-poop stories have been hard to find this week so here we go.
An international ad agency, DDB, teamed up with media conglomerate Terra Mexico to socially engineer residents of Mexico City to clean up after their pets. The companies' solution: "Poo Wifi," bizarre devices supposedly mounted in 10 city parks that allow dog walkers to swap excrement for Internet access. In the future, historians will mark this as the year that the world began moving toward the universal Doggie-Doo Dollar.
My Spanish is un poco de pescado, as they say, so I can't tell exactly how it works from the promotional video below. But to judge from how people interact with it, you're supposed to drop in plastic baggies of fresh dog-output and the machine will allot you several minutes of WiFi for your pitiful phone that can't get a signal over the cellular network. It works by weight: A good-sized turd of 2.5 grams buys you 20 minutes of online time. All the more reason to own a Great Dane!
If anybody reading lives in Mexico City, please call B.S. in the comments section. In the meantime, several YouTubers have pointed out obvious flaws, like people overfeeding their pets to gain more WiFi minutes. Google-translating a comment from Alylosilver yields this complaint: "In my neighborhood would be the container filled with stones in seconds." And LeChatNoirDansLaNuit broaches the subject on everyone's mind: "What's stopping people from Taking a huge s--- in there?" (Hat tip to The Pop-Up City for scooping up Poo WiFi.)
And here's a video in English: