Moscow is to be equipped with terrorist-proof public lavatories that are strong enough to contain a bomb blast.
By Andrew Osborn, Moscow
7:00AM BST 08 Jun 2011
The introduction of the state-of-the-art WCs follows a spate of Islamist terror attacks on the Russian capital over the years.
In the last major attack, in January, a suicide bomber struck Moscow’s busiest airport killing 37 people.
“This lavatory can function on its own and is vandal and terrorist-proof,” said Anatoly Ashikhmin, an official involved in the project.
The new lavatories’ shells will be made from ultra-strong fibrous concrete, while fittings inside will be hewn from a mixture of steel and reinforced plastic.
Due to be pressed into service before the end of the year, members of the public will be allowed to spend a maximum of thirty minutes inside before the door opens automatically and an alarm sounds.
In a city where the temperature can plunge well below zero in winter, the new unisex WCs boast another advantage: the temperature inside will never drop below 16 degrees Celsius.
City officials have not said how many of the fully automatic vacuum lavatories will be ordered but have promised that in time they will replace the flimsy primitive portable plastic lavatories that currently litter many public spaces in Moscow.