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Litter, Toilet Paper, Poop, Not Just a Camino Problem.

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davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I ran across this news story, which focuses on wilderness trails in my neck of the woods. The bad and selfish behavior of Obliviots is International. Even 10 years ago, this disgusting behavior was seldom seen in the Cascade Mountains. The hypothesis being that changes to culture have had a heavy hand of responsibility, like:
  • social media
  • movies, and books, like "Wild"
  • the huge number of backpacking Guide books revealing the location of pristine sites to the public at large
  • the tremendous growth of the entitlement mentality, along with the growing disrespect of private and public property,
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Jul-Sept 2019: Six weeks in Northern Spain.
Apr 2018 Asturias
May 2016 CP: Portuguese
Yesterday I was shopping, trying on shoes. A woman sat nearby with 3 pair she got from the rack. Tried them all on then...just got up leaving the shoes on the chair and floor, to continue her shopping. Shaking my head, even now. It's along the same vein as your subject. How freakin' lazy and self-centered many have become! Pick it up, pack it up, take it away...whatever "it" is!
 

ElnaJune

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2020)
Wow. This is a heartbreaking story. 400 piles of surface detritus in an area with 9 privies? Good Lord. I have one question about your post, with which I largely agree—I didn’t see the movie”Wild”. How did that contribute to this growing problem of general disrespect for the earth and its creatures?
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
This quote really struck a note by underscoring how a well meaning phrase, similar to the one used for pilgrimages, has been contextually ruined by Obliviots.

“I’ve heard people say people who do these things are just ‘hiking their own hike.’ That doesn’t mean you do what you damn well please. Trails are on public property and come with rules and regulations. Roads are public property, too, and we share them with a lot of people. I can’t just drive my own drive. … That mentality astounds me. Trails are being inundated with a lot of new, clueless people right now, and we need a massive public-education campaign.”
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Wow. This is a heartbreaking story. 400 piles of surface detritus in an area with 9 privies? Good Lord. I have one question about your post, with which I largely agree—I didn’t see the movie”Wild”. How did that contribute to this growing problem of general disrespect for the earth and its creatures?
I have no idea about creatures being disrespected :)

The first year following the release of the book, but especially the movie, experienced backpackers saw a huge increase of inexperienced people taking to the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and other long distance trails. The resulting damage to both hiker and trail environments became readily visible.

It is the same effect as a person who watches "The Way" and immediately decides to head to SJPdP.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
I ran across this news story, which focuses on wilderness trails in my neck of the woods. The bad and selfish behavior of Obliviots is International. Even 10 years ago, this disgusting behavior was seldom seen in the Cascade Mountains. The hypothesis being that changes to culture have had a heavy hand of responsibility, like:
  • social media
  • movies, and books, like "Wild"
  • the huge number of backpacking Guide books revealing the location of pristine sites to the public at large
  • the tremendous growth of the entitlement mentality, along with the growing disrespect of private and public property,
Interesting article @davebugg along with some of the links.
Like..............

Other Instagram accounts have also taken a similar public-shaming approach: @JoshuaTreeHatesYou documented widespread damage to Joshua Tree National Park during January’s government shutdown and trolled Miley Cyrus after the singer posted pix of herself in April posing on a Joshua tree’s arm (which can collapse under stress) while sporting a multihued onesie.

How about this 'Rocket Scientist'! It's amazing that some people can cobble together enough brain cells to heave themselves out of bed in the morning!

60339
 

twh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
Obliviots Everywhere!

I live in a small town of 45K people, 20 miles outside of a major metropolitan area with a major university that has 45K students. My small town has a satellite university with a student population of 2,500. The satellite campus has a lot of green space and asphalt walking trails. At a far end of the campus walking trail system is a parking lot with 6 parking spaces. No student would ever park here and then walk the mile+ to the first building on campus. There is more than adequate car parking around the campus buildings.

I drive to this trailhead almost everyday to walk. I usually arrive later in the day. Between the tiny lot and the trail head is a well maintained garbage receptacle. I know it is well maintained because I put trash in it (not mine) every day and I’ve never seen it more than 25% full. It has long horizontal openings, 6 inches high on all four sides to easily and single handedly drop your trash in.

It seems like everyday but it’s probably every other day, the parking lot has 2 or 3 used tissues lying on the pavement that I pick up and put in the trash can. I can understand once in awhile a tissue unbeknownst to the owner falls out of a car or pocket and it ends up on the ground but this is not the case here. Someone is consciously blowing their nose multiple times and throwing it out the window of their car while parked or dropping it while standing in the lot. Depending on where you park, the trash can is between 6 feet and 30 feet away. The fact that this person is unwilling to take their own garbage home to put in their own trash can or walk a few feet to put it in the university’s trash can boggles my mind. This isn’t a carless act, they are intentionally littering and expecting society to take care of it. I don’t think it is a “kid” because the only people who use this parking lot are hikers and dog walkers, the majority of which are middle aged and up.

Daily, I see other random examples of trash on the trail during my 5 – 10 mile hikes but those always seem more like accidents…something getting blown away from someone and they were too lazy to chase it down or they were unable to physically retrieve it. If it’s close to me I usually pick it up and stuff it in my back pocket and unload at the next garbage can on the trail…no big deal. Those tissues in the parking lot are a completely different animal that I just can’t understand.

Between the asphalt trails are trees and wide open green grass spaces that get mowed regularly. The grass is tall and lush. I train with road running shoes for walking the asphalt but recently the soles have needed some repair with ShoeGoo that takes a few days to fully cure. I substituted trail runners and to help preserve the life of the treads I did my walks in the grass next to the asphalt trail. I had two surprises. Although the cut grass had a uniform smooth surface on top the ground beneath it was not flat or even. I had to pay close attention with each step so I did not twist an ankle. Second, there was tons of unseen dog poop below the surface of the grass next to the asphalt trails. I’ve never seen a dog walker NOT pick up their dog’s poop in this area but when nobody is looking, apparently there are many who do not pick up after their pet. Like Dave points out, there is bad behavior everywhere.


Regarding the graffiti below at Joshua Tree. It is sad this vandal feels so insignificant that he must prominently spray paint his name/symbol at a place that reveres nature…a place where his form of expression cannot compete with the magnificence of the natural world. These acts only reinforce just how small these people are.
 

Evvie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2019
I ran across this news story, which focuses on wilderness trails in my neck of the woods. The bad and selfish behavior of Obliviots is International. Even 10 years ago, this disgusting behavior was seldom seen in the Cascade Mountains. The hypothesis being that changes to culture have had a heavy hand of responsibility, like:
  • social media
  • movies, and books, like "Wild"
  • the huge number of backpacking Guide books revealing the location of pristine sites to the public at large
  • the tremendous growth of the entitlement mentality, along with the growing disrespect of private and public property,
The problem is worldwide. I saw a lot of litter and human waste in the Himalayas. It was a lovely sight against the snow.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
I ran across this news story, which focuses on wilderness trails in my neck of the woods. The bad and selfish behavior of Obliviots is International. Even 10 years ago, this disgusting behavior was seldom seen in the Cascade Mountains. The hypothesis being that changes to culture have had a heavy hand of responsibility, like:
  • social media
  • movies, and books, like "Wild"
  • the huge number of backpacking Guide books revealing the location of pristine sites to the public at large
  • the tremendous growth of the entitlement mentality, along with the growing disrespect of private and public property,
I just finished the CF a week ago and am home now. The Camino was a wonderful experience. Dave Bugg’s comment here remind me of my dismay at the amount of graffiti, advertising stickers, and black market aphorisms and inanities applied to walls, waymarkers, lampposts, and stones and rock along the Way. None of this added value to the Camino experience and, of course, this behavior defaced the environment and in some cases obscured signage that pilgrims were depending on in making their way.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I ran across this news story, which focuses on wilderness trails in my neck of the woods. The bad and selfish behavior of Obliviots is International. Even 10 years ago, this disgusting behavior was seldom seen in the Cascade Mountains. The hypothesis being that changes to culture have had a heavy hand of responsibility, like:
  • social media
  • movies, and books, like "Wild"
  • the huge number of backpacking Guide books revealing the location of pristine sites to the public at large
  • the tremendous growth of the entitlement mentality, along with the growing disrespect of private and public property,
Thanks for sharing this Dave. You definitely have a great deal of insight regarding this subject with your widespread backpacking experience. I am trying to hold my tongue as I know I will catch grief for this but I say what I think hahaha. I can't help myself. I think the biggest issue is the entitlement mentality from which all cancer grows. Social media is now one of the pillars of entitlement. As so many around the world who go to shrines of nature for the expressed purpose of taking a selfie for Instagram. My experience on the Camino is that like everywhere else there are people like this. When nature calls it calls and it isn't always convenient to find a bathroom but please, TAKEsome baggies and pick up your s**t and wipes. Is it that difficult? Trust me the baggies don't weigh so much and dump it in a garbage can even if you have to walk some distance first. I am making a big assumption based on my limited experience and talking to other pilgrims but it seems that there is a correlation, not based on numbers but on attitudes that the less traveled a caminos, the less you see this type of behavior. Many are not going on these caminos for the social/partying attraction. Some that are going for that reason are attracted to the CF much more. This is not a blanket statement nor is a criticism of those who want to be on a camino to meet more people and experience people from other lands and cultures. This is a great benefit of walking and creates memories to last a lifetime. Please have respect for the Camino, for nature and everyone else no matter which Camino and which country you are in.
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
My wife and I hike often and because I feel obligated we carry a trash bag to pick up the litter we see and in the last few years we see a lot more. The last time we were out by the time we returned to our truck our bag weighed about 4 lbs. I love our trails in the Cascade and Olympic Ranges in the PNW. We shouldn't have to but please help pick up trash. We do the same on the Camino.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
The problem is worldwide. I saw a lot of litter and human waste in the Himalayas. It was a lovely sight against the snow.
Such a senseless blight, wherever it is found. I recently read an article about workers hauling out several tons (!!!) of wayside trash from one of the trails up Everest. This was not trash from designated camping areas or from bins. This was trash discarded alongside the trail.
 

Walton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
In Australia, and probably elsewhere, we have portable toilets, that builders and authorities tow around and site where needed. Just Google towable portable toilet for images.

My gosh - if someone began a portable toilet business on the Camino that required coins for access, they'd make a lot of Euro. I recon people would pay 5 euro a visit.

You could set up a franchise whereby locals buy the rights to service them and get a percentage of the fees.

You could have the whole Camino covered in public conveniences say every 8 kilometres along the way.

You could sell toilet passes. 10 visits for 40 euro. One day unlimited pass 10 euro, etc. My gosh, the mind boggles. 🤣

Where to site them where profits would be maximised?

Just for starters, how about halfway between SJPP and Orrison?

Halfway between Orrison and Roncevelles, next to the Spanish/French border? Who hasn't been busting on this section of the Camino given the barbed wire fences along both sides of the pathway?

etc etc.

Now beside the toilet, you locate a rubbish bin. The local Junta would probably pay you a fee to manage the trashcan.

Over to the entrepreneurs!
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
(2020) Camino Frances
Could the pilgrim offices of points of departure On the different caminos provide a printed set of instructions or recommendations on their office walls in bold letters or small paper insert into each pilgrim passport regarding human waste and garbage. I would contribute a yearly contribution towards printing costs. If we talk about this issue to all pilgrims it would perhaps reach a few more who may listen. No matter how many do listen at least we are reducing the amount in the caminos. Other suggestions?? Or ideas ??
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
It's not just in the Cascades...it's on Mount Everest too. I listened to a story NPR did on it and found a link for anyone who is interested. What's sad about the Everest story is that there are people who depend on the glacier melt for drinking water and they're getting sick due to the amount of fecal contamination:
 

Walton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
I shared this on Facebook! Maybe something useful will come out of that platform now! 🙃
Oh no Elle!

Now I will get many enquires for years to come, asking how much an unlimited Camino pass is. :cool:

We won’t mention the many people no doubt applying for the job of chief Camino thunderbox inspector. ( Australian slang). The pay is poor, but the exercise is great.

All we need now is a catchy business name and catch phrase.

“The loo with a view” or “You can deposit more than five euro here”. Or “Got the trots, keep walking without fear”

Gotta get back to work in the garden.

Cheers

Ps. Ivar must be shaking his head :)
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
“I’ve heard people say people who do these things are just ‘hiking their own hike.’
This reminds me of the "It's YOUR Camino!" attitude that makes me cringe every time, not because I disagree that people have the ability to tailor their Caminos to their specific needs but because it gets tossed around far too much without clarification.

It's OUR Camino, just like these protected wilderness areas belong to the public and future generations. Somebody has to clean that crap (literal) up.
 
Camino(s) past & future
French Route (Sept-Oct 2015)
There are cafes along the CF. For a euro or two buying a drink, you can use the toilet. I don't want to see a portable toilet every 8km. There is no shame peeing in the bush if you really cannot wait, just take your trash with you. Maybe I did not look carefully, but I did not once see solid human waste on both the CF and CP. I am glad I have this blind spot :-D
 

twh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
I like the way Walton thinks...if I was a younger man I might invest in this low tech start up company.

I don't want to see a portable toilet every 8km.

I did not once see solid human waste on both the CF and CP.
Lydia, I wish I could say the same. I'd much rather see something like this on the side of the trail (prototype)

camino crapper.jpg

than this mass produced extrusion carefully deposited on the edge of the CF trail in May 2018. I'll leave it in thumbnail for those about to dine.

crap.jpg
 

Walton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
Resist the temptation~ DO NOT click the little photo until after breakfast! 😂
Or lunch for that matter! :eek:

I like the way Walton thinks...if I was a younger man I might invest in this low tech start up company.




View attachment 60462

than this mass produced extrusion carefully deposited on the edge of the CF trail in May 2018. I'll leave it in thumbnail for those about to dine.
Twh - Great idea.

You see similar buildings in National Parks here where the toilets are more often than not, self composting.

I've seen those deposits too. Right alongside the track for everyone to see. It's a wonder there isn't a sign by the mess "Proudly deposited by ____________," (Insert name).

But if you go 50 metres off the trail, you'll find many such deposits. It's an undeniable problem, given the sheer weight of numbers using the Camino.

Bring money into it and there will be a solution.
 
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lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Or lunch for that matter! :eek:
I should have said "Don't click it all it" because I can't un-see it. It's etched firmly in my mind and probably the worst I've seen and I looked at all the photos from the Holy Year.

@twh I'm so sorry you had to see that in person at all! Hopefully that person was just sick!
 

twh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances May/June, 2018
Porto-Muxia-Finisterre Oct (2019)
It was confusing. Just wrong in so many ways. What to do? Take a picture.
The volume and viscosity screamed bovine.
I've never seen a flying pig, nor have I seen a cow wiping with toilet paper.
But I've heard, on the Camino, all is possible, even in a non-Holy year.
It's etched firmly in my mind
For you it's been etched, for me I just retched, when sight and smell were united.
 

lizlane

Small Town Girl, Small Town World
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
I'm not laughing at your retching. My stomach flipped when I saw the mere picture but your humor just totally has me crying tears with my laughter! I totally would've taken a picture too! How could you not? No one would believe you if just described it!
 

Bobcat77

CF March-May 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2019
On this topic, my copy of the Brierly Guidebook for Camino Francés has one brilliant tip:
"Discipline your bowels!" Every café, every albergue and every bar in every village has a toilet. USE IT BEFORE YOU LEAVE. Then, pucker up till the next one. I also carried a tiny roll of doggie poop bags. Didn't need them, but I knew they were in the bag ...
 

Kelly Ann

Member
Camino(s) past & future
N/A
Yesterday I was shopping, trying on shoes. A woman sat nearby with 3 pair she got from the rack. Tried them all on then...just got up leaving the shoes on the chair and floor, to continue her shopping. Shaking my head, even now. It's along the same vein as your subject. How freakin' lazy and self-centered many have become! Pick it up, pack it up, take it away...whatever "it" is!
I would have said something like hey, you want to put these back where you found them please.
 

bobbogram

Member
Camino(s) past & future
El Norte San Sebastián to Santiago; Portuguese Lisbon to Porto; Porto to Santiago; Geneva west
It's not just in the Cascades...it's on Mount Everest too. I listened to a story NPR did on it and found a link for anyone who is interested. What's sad about the Everest story is that there are people who depend on the glacier melt for drinking water and they're getting sick due to the amount of fecal contamination:

The television show Adam Ruins Everything had an episode on the tragedy of Mt Everest and the tons of garbage, fecal matter, and dead bodies accumulating there and destruction of the environment. Dedicated adventurers have been mostly replaced by wealthy folks seeking selfies at the crest, with the risks and hardest effort made by the Sherpas.
 

Walton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
On this topic, my copy of the Brierly Guidebook for Camino Francés has one brilliant tip:
"Discipline your bowels!" Every café, every albergue and every bar in every village has a toilet. USE IT BEFORE YOU LEAVE. Then, pucker up till the next one. I also carried a tiny roll of doggie poop bags. Didn't need them, but I knew they were in the bag ...
Thank you Bobcat 77.

This is good advice in general, however there are millions of people who have bowel issues or one sort or another, caused by one reason or another who are unable to "discipline their bowels" as well as they would like.

I’m one of those.

If only it were that easy!

Combine medical issues, and to some extent, age, with long distances between some villages and cafes that should be open but aren't, changes to diet, etc, and the issue becomes more complex.

Doggie bags are a great idea and yes - people should absolutely leave no trace and while I’m at it, a million curses on those who leave their droppings right beside the track. I too carry doggy bags and I have used them on a couple of occasions when those disciplined bowels decided to disobey me while out of range of any conveniences.

Another option is to encourage people with bowel issues to stay at home, don't walk, lock yourself away and there are probably no doubt many thousands out of the millions of people with such issues who do. I don’t think this is right either.

I personally think that the bowel discipline comment in Briely's book, while well intended, is unkind to those who do suffer bowel indignities of one sort or another.

Reminds me of a a joke between the brain and the anus. The brain said, "I am at the top and I control absolutely everything. What I tell my master, he does and therefore you shall follow my every order without question. You, anus, will do what I tell you to do and when to do it for I am the brain, the supreme master of this body temple and don’t you forget it”.

The anus replies to the brain. “Fine, you win! I'm going on strike for the next few weeks" :)
 
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Silencio Por Favor

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ingles 2018
This made me think that maybe there is a need/HINT to the would be offenders for a human version/size of dog pick up bags? Not sure if I am being serious or not.........?
 

Opa Theo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais to Santiago
Trail Angels are kind people who donate food or services for free along the epic American trails (Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide trail,PCT).
What label should we use for those selfish people who liter and disrespect the environment? Trail Turds is my suggestion.
In Southern New England many states no longer provide trash barrels, assuming people will pack out what they brought with them. Usually seems to work. I fly fish and always bring along a bag to collect trash on my way out. Sadly, the bag is stuffed when I get out.
Another problem is dog owners who put dog droppings in plastic bags and leave the bag on the trail.

Last year on the Camino Francis I'd wander off the route to look for interesting places to photograph. Too often I found toilet paper all over.
 
Camino(s) past & future
I live next to the Grand Châtenet section
I live 5mintues from the Tours route and have found what a young lady left behind a haystack, seen an older lady squatting in the woods and plenty of other evidence but this is France where men have the right to pee in public (yes even in the streets) . On the Camino toilets are often far from you so it has to be done but in the middle of a track like I found the other day , no thanks. I prefer raw waste than it being picked up and bagged in plastic to be binned then took of to landfill.
 

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