human waste on trails

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human waste on trails

Postby wayno » Thu 22 Feb, 2024 2:51 pm

i havent noticed it mentioned on the forum...
is there much of a problem with people leaving a lot of rubbish and unburied faeces at campsites or right in the middle of trails?
its happening in NZ on a reasonably regular basis now, including tracks with modern toilets at regular intervals like the Great walks.. which include flushable toilets at the huts...
theres a fair bit of mess left on the Te Araroa trail in particular... people going to the toilet around huts avoiding the long drop toilets..
is definitely a growing problem, its not something i'd come across for decades until recent years...
saw human faeces on a track twice in one day and a ranger had to clean up more...
its often easy to bury human toilet waste in nz. theres often soft soil, lots of ground litter and vegetation, or loose stones , and gravel... even in a wet country like nz it doesnt decompose easily if its left exposed esp in the summer sun... I'd seen online bragging on an american site by people saying they'd taken dumps on trails and left it. like it was funny or something they had no problem with doing...
most hikers are considerate and would never do anything like that and are always responsible but theres a growing group who are the opposite..
from the land of the long white clouds...
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Last » Thu 22 Feb, 2024 4:06 pm

It's a big problem here, exactly the same as you outlined. Was at Cradle Mountain a week ago. It was everywhere, including right next to a busy trail. Have previously seen it both in popular and quite remote places.
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Jack Doolan » Thu 22 Feb, 2024 5:12 pm

My daughter and I came across a "freshie" on the Grampians Peak Trail. No mistaking it and right in the middle of the track. In their defence it was a precipice on either side and they left no paper, just a steaming reminder of their passing. I guess when you gotta go....

We came across a couple of hikers about 15 minutes later and it was a slightly awkward moment. I felt I already knew them, inside out.

If you really want to see humans behaving badly, visit the Murray River!
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Bill P » Thu 22 Feb, 2024 10:29 pm

I really dislike the paper being left on top of the ground. The *&%$#! disappears in a few weeks or less, but bleached paper persists for 12 months and more. People who dont know how to take a *&%$#! in the bush also seem to use large amounts of paper. There used to be unbleached toilet paper available but I haven't seen it for years- does anyone knows of a supplier?
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby crollsurf » Thu 22 Feb, 2024 10:36 pm

The further you get from a car park, the less likely you'll see that. It still amazes me the contempt these people have. Even my dogs don't sht on the track, which presents issues collecting their poop. But even a dog gets it.

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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Lophophaps » Fri 23 Feb, 2024 9:02 am

There's a wide range of views.

https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/ ... adable.php
“Toilet paper does not hold up against biodegradation. It will break down so fast you will barely know it was even there in the first place. Toilet paper is biodegradable because of what it is made from. Toilet paper is a product of trees or wood, one organic matter that breaks down easily.”

https://housegrail.com/is-toilet-paper-biodegradable/
“Regular toilet paper takes 1–3 years to decompose fully, while biodegradable toilet paper takes 1–2 months. A few factors influence the process of decomposing: the thickness of the tissue, water availability, and environmental factors.”

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-01-31/ ... /103374466
“Tasmania Parks and Wildlife wilderness rangers, like Olivia Hickey, are putting in a special effort to push the use of poo pots.”

In several places in Tassie and Victoria I have returned 3-5 days after I saw human waste on the ground. There was nothing left. On one trip on a little-used track I saw the waste at about 2 pm and by 7 am the next day with fine weather overnight it was all but gone. Some tourist walks are pretty bad. It may be that marketing walks hard brings in people who do not know the rules. The remedy is to install toilets are intervals of about two hours.
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby headwerkn » Fri 23 Feb, 2024 9:35 am

crollsurf wrote:But even a dog gets it.


And that's the sad thing about it.

You can *almost* understand the mentality of it in heavily tourist-walked areas, where it's no surprise that some visitors literally have no clue (or regard).

Problem is we've seen so many examples of turds on tracks in areas where only reasonably capable hikers can get to too. Prime example was the massive Cleveland Steamer left right in the middle of the track, climbing up to The Labyrinth. No attempt at burial or removal into the nearby bush.

Look, s--t does sometimes literally happen, and given digging a six inch hole in Tasmanian alpine ground is usually a multi-minute exercise, occasionally you do need to drop there and then, and deal with the consequences afterwards. But my god, have the decency to deal with the consequences.

Recent publicity by Parks etc. on poo tubes/pots is great, and the walking clubs are definitely talking more about taking a lead in this regard beyond the usual winter trips. But realistically, the responsible, proactive people are already being responsible and proactive in this matter. Those that introduce and lead newcomers into the pastime obviously act as very persuasive role models to influence correct behaviour in the bush.

Unfortunately I don't think you're going to make much progress with tourists and infrequent and/or "unsupervised noob" walkers unless Parks are willing to really push hard on the education aspect and provide biffy/WAG bags for free as a backup on walks which, of course, already have toilets at each node.

Trailheads are an entirely different issue, which to be honest can't really be solved without installing toilets. Unfortunately those are at high risk of overuse/use by motorists (thinking Frenchmans Cap in particular) and also vandalism.

---

As an aside, it is interesting to hear the bury vs no bury arguments, and how long different types of toilet paper take to break down. While I'm personally not very keen on leaving exposed turds even in remote off track (and non catchment) areas that others aren't likely to ever come across, it's important to remember in many areas - thinking mostly alpine Tasmanian conditions - our ground is much colder and rockier/more gravel than the typical warm, loamy soils that accelerate the decomposition process.

Really, packing it out is just the better option. Even if 'better' isn't necessarily 'lighter'*
(Said by the guy who had to drag several days of crap from an extended stay at The Font back up the Denison Range :lol: )
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby matagi » Fri 23 Feb, 2024 6:21 pm

Having developed a gastrointestinal issue which means I often don't have much time between "urge to go" and "bombs away!" I will be experimenting with a poo pot on the OT next month. Don't fancy my chances digging a hole on some parts of the track without some form of heavy machinery.

I reckon a black screw top jar like the smaller ones that protein powder comes in would be ideal.
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Bill P » Fri 23 Feb, 2024 9:52 pm

Hi Lophophaps, if turds are disappearing completely in <17 hrs,then something is eating them, rather than them biodegrading. Its paper that's the more persistent environmental issue.

As an aside, I was disturbed when, at the start of the pandemic, while USA was fervently stocking up on guns, Australians were fighting each other in supermarkets over toilet paper. Toilet paper has only existed for 160 years. How did humans survive before then?
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Rione » Sat 24 Feb, 2024 2:28 am

Seriously, it's on all of us to keep our outdoor spots pristine and maybe give a friendly reminder to folks about how to behave in nature.
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby matagi » Sat 24 Feb, 2024 6:21 am

No idea re: how humans coped before toilet paper was invented, but our back up plan during Covid was cut up an old towel into squares, use that and then drop it in a bucket of water with disinfectant added. When sufficient squares were accumulated, chuck in washing machine.

We never had to actually resort to that method, but it is a variation on what used to happen with cloth nappies.
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby north-north-west » Sat 24 Feb, 2024 7:33 am

There are various leaves that are soft and robust enough to be used. Or a smooth rock, or (preferably wet) hand and wash it. I once resorted to a strip of soft bark when caught out without paper.
Or as the old joke suggests, a convenient rabbit.
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Warin » Sat 24 Feb, 2024 8:15 am

matagi wrote:No idea re: how humans coped before toilet paper was invented,


The old Romans were said to use a brush and water...

Today a large portion of the world's population just use water .. and squat toilets.
Last edited by Warin on Sat 24 Feb, 2024 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby L_Cham_67 » Sat 24 Feb, 2024 8:22 am

north-north-west wrote:There are various leaves that are soft and robust enough to be used.

I think we need to find a way for these f***ers leaving unburied waste on trails to switch to using the leaves of gympie gympie for toilet paper :lol:
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Aardvark » Sat 24 Feb, 2024 12:13 pm

I can show you pictures of gympie leaves up to 15 inches wide. I've been stung dozens of times. Too many to count.
Something that size for toileting would be a luxury. It would be a thrill and a very memorable occasion to watch SOMEONE ELSE try it out.
I have suggested it to others (newbies) but no takers yet.
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Tortoise » Thu 28 Mar, 2024 7:51 am

I should have done my research already... Is there a brand of truly compostable bags that don't come apart as you peel one off, that are available in supermarkets? Thanks.
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby bernieq » Thu 28 Mar, 2024 8:21 am

Bill P wrote:Toilet paper has only existed for 160 years. How did humans survive before then?

I lived in Borneo for a couple of years. Beside any toilet is a tong (water container) and a gayung (water scoop). You poo then scoop water and, with your left hand, wipe & wash your bum. Then, when finished, wash your hands.

It's actually much cleaner than dragging paper across your bum, smearing your exudate across your skin. Sure, takes a few time to reset your head but it works. It's also why, culturally, people don't use their left hand for anything else.

I'll add that, in history, there's plenty of evidence that sanitation was frequently pretty poor so to answer 'how did humans survive before toilet paper?' - sometimes not very well !

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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Aardvark » Thu 28 Mar, 2024 8:33 am

I'm still advocating for the use of tongs and a restraining harness.
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Warin » Thu 28 Mar, 2024 9:33 am

Tortoise wrote:Is there a brand of truly compostable bags that don't come apart as you peel one off, that are available in supermarkets? Thanks.


"Available in supermarkets" ... I have not looked .. googling.. 'corn starch bag' ...

Coles ... 40 pack $2.50 "Coles Pet Tidy Bags Compostable are designed to hold pet waste and break down quicker than standard plastic bags. Each bag is made with 30% renewable corn starch material and conforms to relevant Australian Standards for composting."

https://www.coles.com.au/product/coles- ... ck-3914727

Wollies small 20 pack $4.45 "Glad to be Green Compostable Kitchen Caddy Liners are home and industrial compostable, perfect for handling organic waste on it’s way to compost."

https://www.woolworths.com.au/shop/prod ... able-small

I have no idea if these would be suitable... buyer be aware! Most of the results are for "food waste" ...
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Tortoise » Thu 28 Mar, 2024 11:34 am

I wondered if people have personal experience with a brand that works. I was put off when I bought compostable bags that are meant to be bin liners. In the process of peeling a bag off the roll, I usually can't avoid getting a huge tear in the bag itself (from the perforated line). I don't want anything that flimsy for carrying my poo. :shock:
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby ribuck » Thu 28 Mar, 2024 6:00 pm

Warin wrote:"Each bag is made with 30% renewable corn starch material"

So what is the other 70%? I hope it's not microplastics bound together temporarily by the cornstarch.

The Woolies listing says the bags are not for landfill. So what do you do with them? Put them in your home compost bin? Put them in a bush dunny? Bury them in your garden? May as well just bury the waste at the source.
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Moh » Thu 28 Mar, 2024 6:52 pm

bernieq wrote:
Bill P wrote:Toilet paper has only existed for 160 years. How did humans survive before then?

I lived in Borneo for a couple of years. Beside any toilet is a tong (water container) and a gayung (water scoop). You poo then scoop water and, with your left hand, wipe & wash your bum. Then, when finished, wash your hands.

It's actually much cleaner than dragging paper across your bum, smearing your exudate across your skin. Sure, takes a few time to reset your head but it works. It's also why, culturally, people don't use their left hand for anything else.

I'll add that, in history, there's plenty of evidence that sanitation was frequently pretty poor so to answer 'how did humans survive before toilet paper?' - sometimes not very well !


I'll second this. On my last long hike I exclusively used a culo clean (first time trying it). It took a bit of getting used to at first, but by the end of the hike I was a convert!
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Aardvark » Fri 29 Mar, 2024 6:27 am

I lived in Borneo for a couple of years. Beside any toilet is a tong (water container) and a gayung (water scoop). You poo then scoop water and, with your left hand, wipe & wash your bum. Then, when finished, wash your hands.

It's actually much cleaner than dragging paper across your bum, smearing your exudate across your skin. Sure, takes a few time to reset your head but it works. It's also why, culturally, people don't use their left hand for anything else.

I'll add that, in history, there's plenty of evidence that sanitation was frequently pretty poor so to answer 'how did humans survive before toilet paper?' - sometimes not very well !


Seems a great way to get to know your a-hole better
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Kickinghorse » Sat 30 Mar, 2024 9:37 am

Bill P wrote:Hi Lophophaps, if turds are disappearing completely in <17 hrs,then something is eating them, rather than them biodegrading. Its paper that's the more persistent environmental issue.

As an aside, I was disturbed when, at the start of the pandemic, while USA was fervently stocking up on guns, Australians were fighting each other in supermarkets over toilet paper. Toilet paper has only existed for 160 years. How did humans survive before then?


Not 160 years ago but as recent as 70 one would tear the Melbourne Herald (Womens Weekly a bit shiny) into squares to be hung on a hook in a toilet that was in the back yard. And as recently in the 60’s, some outer suburbs of our major cities still had a dunny cart to pick up cans of waste. Could be a little disconcerting when the flap flew open to replace said can when one was still in action!
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Re: human waste on trails

Postby Aardvark » Sat 30 Mar, 2024 10:14 am

Kickinghorse wrote:Not 160 years ago but as recent as 70 one would tear the Melbourne Herald (Womens Weekly a bit shiny) into squares to be hung on a hook in a toilet that was in the back yard. And as recently in the 60’s, some outer suburbs of our major cities still had a dunny cart to pick up cans of waste. Could be a little disconcerting when the flap flew open to replace said can when one was still in action!


It was only 50 years ago i can remember as a child in Marayong near Blacktown Sydney having to use an outside toilet with newspaper torn into strips.
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