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Litter on the Camino


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Past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Gareth has made a valid observation - but it is not a new phenomenon and it has been raised on this and other Forums for years. The problem is that it is growing together with the exponential growth in the number of people walking the routes.
In spite of his comparison with last year, 2007 wasn't any better and I saw trails of litter across the caminos - cold drink cans and plastic bottles, toilet tissues, sweet wrappers, plastic packets, used plasters and plaster papers, along with discarded items like damaged boots and shoes, torn ponchos, sleeping bags, roll up foam mattresses - anything the pilgrim doesn't feel like carrying is dumped on the side of the road.

but you'll be fighting your way through the rubbish next year if the matter is not addressed!

I have seen pictures on many Asociación de Amigos websites of local groups collecting litter along the paths (especially in Castille y Leon) so it is obviously a huge problem for the Associations and one that is being addressed in Spain.

What solutions can we then, as pilgrims or Confraternities, offer?
In an effort to educate our members about this problem, the CSJ of SA has had 20 000 litter bags printed with a message to help keep the camino clean in 9 different languages. I issue every pilgrim who asks for a CSJ of SA Credential with a bag and ask them to fill it somewhere on the camino and dispose of it in 'the efficient Spanish garbage system'.
10 000 bags have been distributed to albergues on the camino Frances with a request to pilgrims to take one and pick up litter along the way.

The Company of Pilgrims in Canada have been running a similar campaign.

Pilgrims should ask their Confraternities if they are doing their bit. We can all make suggestions - perhaps using this forum?

Falcon269 suggested strategically placed bulletin boards outside towns and villages for people to stick up notices of new albergues, restaurants and other services.

Let's be pro-active and instead of constantly bemoaning the situation, make constructive suggestions on how to help keep the camino litter free.


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