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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

garbage on the trail!

Camino(s) past & future
Beginning 1 December in Pamplona
#1
I am into day two and am shocked by the amount of garbage on the trail. Mostly toilet paper, and pieces or skins of fruit that will not biodegrade quickly. Is there a way we can begin an education campaign of #leavenotrace ? Or #packitinpackitout ?

Stunning scenery and weather. I may start collecting garbage!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2015 & 2018) San Salvador (2018)
#2
We may not be able to change other people's behaviour, but if you would feel better collecting garbage as you walk, you can leave the trail in better shape than you found it. Lots of people choose to pick up some garbage each day and deposit it in the garbage bins in the next village.

Enjoy the camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
#3
We were brought up with "Always Leave a Place Better than you Found it" , Leave No Trace Behind, this is an education that should start when we are children to start a life long habit though it can be started today. I am a firm believer of leading by example and I have seen it work, the less people that see us doing negative behaviours sets them a positive example of not doing negative actions. But yes, if able please pick up others mess as I don't believe that most people don't like to be the first one to toss their trash in any location.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#4
Is there a way we can begin an education campaign of #leavenotrace ? Or #packitinpackitout ?
Stunning scenery and weather. I may start collecting garbage!
I see that you are a fairly new forum member. If you spend much time here, you'll see many threads on this topic, including a recent report-in from the group that organizes an annual clean-up of a section of the camino every November, and efforts by a Portuguese group to educate pilgrims through information on their credencials.

Many of us do collect garbage from time to time when we are walking, and I'd encourage you to do so as well. Other people will see you and might get the message, too. Thanks for your effort!

Buen camino!
 

Alison C

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de France in 2016
#5
I am into day two and am shocked by the amount of garbage on the trail. Mostly toilet paper, and pieces or skins of fruit that will not biodegrade quickly. Is there a way we can begin an education campaign of #leavenotrace ? Or #packitinpackitout ?

Stunning scenery and weather. I may start collecting garbage!
I am with B, I was shocked by the rubbish & females sitting on the track to pee, getting up, wiping themselves with a wet one which they dropped where they were & went on their merry way with no thoughts as to what they had just done!! Took me 2weeks to come to be able to ‘turn the other cheek’ & keep walking. A friend here would have picked up the wipe & handed it to the offender saying they’d left something behind! I didn’t like the idea of waiting till they’d finished their ablutions to do that! If you look behind the hedges where I went for a pee (no wipes or paper required) the human excrement & wipe/paper waste is even more offensive—why not more composting toilets on the Camino Frances?
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
#6
I pick up trash quite often. Dispose of it at a proper place. Its very easy. BC
 
Camino(s) past & future
Future
#7
Perhaps if disposable bags (like the ones available in public areas for the removal of dog poop) were installed maybe just maybe pilgrims would get the message to pick up after themselves?
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#8
Your local authority provides free poop-bags, Wow!

There is no Camino Authority (well except the Cathedral in SdC and they definitely don't do trail-side hygiene). Most municipal authorities in Spain cannot afford to provide public lavatories let alone free poo-bags. A Pueblo with a population of 50 doesn't scoop in much of a tax revenue. The taxes paid by the local Albergue don't go far. Bars and such along the caminos provide the usual facilities but reasonably expect that you'll at least buy a coffee or leave some cents on the bar and the rest of the toilet roll where you found it.

The only viable perhaps is if, perhaps, pilgrims of good heart do what they can to make up for those others who will discard without regard. Take a trash-bag with you, pick up what you can, take it to the nearest village dumpster. Walk on with a lighter heart. I'm not advocating that anyone try to deal with pooped paper or sanitary detritus. Even the Ditch Pigs struggle with that challenge; ( rubber gloves, salad tongs and a balsa-descarga help) but do what you can, do it when you can. No pride, no guilt, no rage.
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
#9
I am into day two and am shocked by the amount of garbage on the trail. Mostly toilet paper, and pieces or skins of fruit that will not biodegrade quickly. Is there a way we can begin an education campaign of #leavenotrace ? Or #packitinpackitout ?

Stunning scenery and weather. I may start collecting garbage!
I am sure my response is too much of a generalization but here they are. Have you noticed that most of the graffiti is in English and when names are left, tgey are English names? Have you noticed the many ways Europeans care for their environment? As an American, I have to wonder how much of the litter and graffiti is left behind by fellow citizens. I hope I am wrong.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago 2017
#10
There are many threads on this. The litter along the way was my greatest disappointment. But that said, it was not like it was a 6 week stroll through a landfill. Just some areas of litter. Mostly clean and beautiful, which is why the problem areas stood out so clearly. My wife and I took to carrying a plastic bag and picked up obvious stuff like empty water bottles as we walked. Nothing that required rubber gloves or anything, but we tried to help a little. Hopefully just talking about it more and making it part of the pilgrim culture will help.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
#11
There is a group of volunteers from all over the world who call themselves 'ditchpigs', organized by Rebekah Scott, a member of this forum. Every year around the end of November they gather to clean a portion of a Camino. This year it was part of the Portuguese, although most years in the past it has been the Frances. They are heroes led by a super hero, in my opinion!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
#14
It's gotten worse and worse over the years.
There have been and are several attempts to clean the trails.
Last year, I carried a bag and picked up garbage; it was crazy the amount of trash I'd pick up on a half stage.
I don't know the answer outside education at the beginning where most people start, in SJPP and Roncesvalles, about carrying out their own trash, not leaving pee paper along the trail, and bedbugs. I'd love to see a campaign like THAT start.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#15
The mantra for the Australian bush is: take only photographs and leave only footprints.
But I take your point - toilet paper really is one of the bug-bares of the Camino.
About two years ago a member of the Sydney Pilgrims asked every Oz pilgrim (or recommended at least) to carry one of those supermarket plastic bags and to pick any rubbish you find on the Camino. Its a worthwhile suggestion, although not totally practical - your camino would last 3 months. But to do it for say one day would be a big help. Another (female) pilgrim advised that she carried a small bag (waterproof) and that was where she put the paper she used after peeing. The bag was emptied into a suitable garbage bin at days end. Cheers
(I might have to organise my travels so as to complete my camino in late Oct, do so ordinary touring and then join the ditch-pigs for a few days,. But no promises!!)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
#16
I don't know if it is still the case, but the French routes that I walked a few years ago (Le Puy, Arles, Tours) were remarkably trash free, in comparison to the CF. The vast majority of the walkers on those routes were French.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walked in "2016"
#17
I am into day two and am shocked by the amount of garbage on the trail. Mostly toilet paper, and pieces or skins of fruit that will not biodegrade quickly. Is there a way we can begin an education campaign of #leavenotrace ? Or #packitinpackitout ?

Stunning scenery and weather. I may start collecting garbage!
I think the overwhelming majority of the pilgrims are environmentally conscious. It's just about 10% to 15% of all pilgrims that are the real offenders and are creating so much havoc! (Surprisingly it's still less than proportion of citizens who are polluting the parks, towns, rivers/streams etc. in my country. But then again, you would tend to think that pilgrims would have better social consciousness than rank and file citizens of a nation)

Perhaps a one page sheet with bullet points at key stops could be handed to pilgrims as they get their passports stamped to remind/reiterate them of how not to pollute.
 

Rako

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#19
Every Albergue should charge every pilgrim EUR 1 more for each night's stay, and give each pilgrim a trash bag upon departure in the morning. At the following Albergue, pilgrims delivering a full bag of trash could get a EUR 2 discount on the price of their overnight stay.

I think the Albergues' revenue would be about the same, and the camino would be a lot cleaner. Messy pilgrims can continue being messy at an additional monetary cost to themselves. Cleaner pilgrims could be satisfied that they're making a difference AND saving money.
 

Lurch

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
looking at 2018-2019
#20
The “pee” papers were not so bad, it was the other toilet paper flags that got your attention, that and the smell. Noticeabley more after Sarria, much, much, much more.
 

Mary M

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Primativo, have walked the 1200 km Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage in 2015 June.
#21
I am into day two and am shocked by the amount of garbage on the trail. Mostly toilet paper, and pieces or skins of fruit that will not biodegrade quickly. Is there a way we can begin an education campaign of #leavenotrace ? Or #packitinpackitout ?

Stunning scenery and weather. I may start collecting garbage!
I Walked the Camino in 2017. Trash was terrible especially from St, Jean PP to Rochevalles. I started picking up garbage and had a 30 gallon garabe bag full by Orisson! No wonder the shepherds do not like the pilgrims! Does anyone even think about the damage a plastic water bottle or plastic bag can do to livestock? Anyway I continued to pick up ALL garbage including toilet paper (had plastic gloves) as much as I could. The albergue I stayed in at SJPP educated the pilgrims on trash. Another albergue actually gave us little yellow nylon shopping bags which I used to pick up more trash. I think we influenced a few younger pilgrims. I told them we can either be part of the solution, or part of the problem. You choose. If they don’t throw it down in the first place we won’t need to pick it up.
 

Mugatu

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2018 (July 6- Aug 2) ✅
Camino Frances once more or Norte 2019
#22
On my 2017 CF, it was very disheartening to see the amount of trash on the Camino, education on #leavenotrace is always good for the unitiatated and those who may think they understand what it entails. Point in fact, a person I befriended while on the trail is an avid hiker in Oregon and she always had the assumption that apple cores and banana peels were fair game to be discarded in the wild, after a breif discussion she understood why her assumptions were indeed false. We picked up trash along the way, and that’s all we can really do in the end, is to attempt to do our part and in effect, hopefully influence others indirectly.

I also met a graduate student completing their thesis on the impact of pilgrims on the Camino; this focused on trash / the transformation that has transpired in order to accommodate the stress placed on the landscape by Pilgrims / but more importantly the stigma it placed about pilgrims in the minds of the local community.

All age groups are aware, some are just a bit more considerate to our host
 

Jodean

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
#23
I bring squares of bandanas to use instead of TP. I wash them and the sturdy plastic bag they are in if I use them. I not only save on TP, but also all of those plastic bags being tossed in the trash daily for the used TP. Frankly, this is a lot of plastic!
Oddly enough, got rather slammed on a Camino FB page about how disgusting this was, lots of EWWWS, and that it was unhygienic and how dare I wash this little pee rag in the sink with my laundry or in the washer. Needless to say, I was shocked.
 

Alison C

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de France in 2016
#25
Your local authority provides free poop-bags, Wow!

There is no Camino Authority (well except the Cathedral in SdC and they definitely don't do trail-side hygiene). Most municipal authorities in Spain cannot afford to provide public lavatories let alone free poo-bags. A Pueblo with a population of 50 doesn't scoop in much of a tax revenue. The taxes paid by the local Albergue don't go far. Bars and such along the caminos provide the usual facilities but reasonably expect that you'll at least buy a coffee or leave some cents on the bar and the rest of the toilet roll where you found it.

The only viable perhaps is if, perhaps, pilgrims of good heart do what they can to make up for those others who will discard without regard. Take a trash-bag with you, pick up what you can, take it to the nearest village dumpster. Walk on with a lighter heart. I'm not advocating that anyone try to deal with pooped paper or sanitary detritus. Even the Ditch Pigs struggle with that challenge; ( rubber gloves, salad tongs and a balsa-descarga help) but do what you can, do it when you can. No pride, no guilt, no rage.
K
The mantra for the Australian bush is: take only photographs and leave only footprints.
But I take your point - toilet paper really is one of the bug-bares of the Camino.
About two years ago a member of the Sydney Pilgrims asked every Oz pilgrim (or recommended at least) to carry one of those supermarket plastic bags and to pick any rubbish you find on the Camino. Its a worthwhile suggestion, although not totally practical - your camino would last 3 months. But to do it for say one day would be a big help. Another (female) pilgrim advised that she carried a small bag (waterproof) and that was where she put the paper she used after peeing. The bag was emptied into a suitable garbage bin at days end. Cheers
(I might have to organise my travels so as to complete my camino in late Oct, do so ordinary touring and then join the ditch-pigs for a few days,. But no promises!!)
i took dog poo bags in case I got caught out on the track ( I never used them & left them by a water fountain so hoped they were of some use to someone & didn’t become litter!) & they could be used for pee paper but you don’t have to use a wipe or paper each time you pee! Unfortunately I observed most rubbish droppers were locals - when off the path & on the path. At view spots through the Douro (Portugal) the area behind the wall/hedge was the local toilet spot with all the expected detiritus so seems to be a common problem all over Europe & in some parts of Australia too!
 

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