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Litter!!!

JohnG

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Future Frances ~ May 2014
Have just completed my first Camino and am pleased to report that it exceeded all my expectations, I now understand why people do it again and again and again.

There is one thing though that took me totally by surprise, in a less than pleasant way, and that is the amount of litter on and around the path, sadly for almost its entire length.

More numerous than yellow arrows, and just as visible. On the track, beside the track, near the track, behind every tree, around every bend, mound, bush, fence post in fact in every ‘squattable’ location a Kleenex also marking the way of this world heritage walk.

Both my wife and daughter, along with many, many of their gender manage their toilette without littering the countryside so why is it that so many, apparently responsible walkers in every other way, think that this is somehow OK.

Not only that, in some sort of ‘group think’ they give permission to all who follow to do exactly the same. They may not travel that way again but please, can they give a thought to everyone else.
 
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wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2012
From many previous posts on the subject this seems to be an age old problem. I saw plenty of it in 2012 and 2013. Rebekah Scott, Tyrrek and many others organise clean up operations along the Camino every year which is a great thing to do. Hopefully I will be able to join in this at some stage, its on the list.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Have just completed my first Camino and am pleased to report that it exceeded all my expectations, I now understand why people do it again and again and again.

There is one thing though that took me totally by surprise, in a less than pleasant way, and that is the amount of litter on and around the path, sadly for almost its entire length.

More numerous than yellow arrows, and just as visible. On the track, beside the track, near the track, behind every tree, around every bend, mound, bush, fence post in fact in every ‘squattable’ location a Kleenex also marking the way of this world heritage walk.

Both my wife and daughter, along with many, many of their gender manage their toilette without littering the countryside so why is it that so many, apparently responsible walkers in every other way, think that this is somehow OK.

Not only that, in some sort of ‘group think’ they give permission to all who follow to do exactly the same. They may not travel that way again but please, can they give a thought to everyone else.

Here here. Take a small zip lock bag and a cotton hanky or other washable cloth, or catch drips in a panty liner. It is sooooo simple.
 
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eagleak

New Member
To John G. Excellent point! There needs to be code for all pilgrims to be mindful and care for the Camino. I walked in 2012 and found this be my Irk. In Sept I depart to walk my 2nd Camino and was hoping this would be better maybe yes more ten likely maybe no.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
I am on the Frances for the first time and I have to say that it shocked me too. Especially the outdoor toilets...
 
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Felice

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
We used to go camping in the southern part of the Cantabrians in the late 1970s, at a spot that the locals liked to visit at weekends. There was one area that every one used for the toilet and it was vile - mounds and paper everywhere. Things obviously have not changed that much.

On a more positive note, we also lived in the Middle East for many years, where they do not used toilet paper. At least paper gives you advanced warning to take care where you put your feet!
 

jennie

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
from st jean - estella 2013 ponferrada-santiago 2012.hope/expect to do full camino with y
sister in sept 14. we completed our walk in 2014?puenta la reina to belarado june 2016,
From many previous posts on the subject this seems to be an age old problem. I saw plenty of it in 2012 and 2013. Rebekah Scott, Tyrrek and many others organise clean up operations along the Camino every year which is a great thing to do. Hopefully I will be able to join in this at some stage, its on the list.
i was worried on previous trips as when i need to go i need to go,however i stopped at every cafe and rest spot available,i did bring a roll of bags and tissues just in case,,but thankfully did not have to use them:) however i would always urge people to take the bags just in case as its horrible and unfair to the people following on the path to see tissue every where how ever i must say it was a lot more obvious from sarria onwards ,not just tissue but snack wrappers and plastic bottles !
 

gwdelmar

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, September- October (2014) SJPP- SdC
Camino Portugues, September (2016) Porto-SdC
To John G. Excellent point! There needs to be code for all pilgrims to be mindful and care for the Camino. I walked in 2012 and found this be my Irk. In Sept I depart to walk my 2nd Camino and was hoping this would be better maybe yes more ten likely maybe no.

My wife and I will begin our Camino in couple of weeks from SJPP to Compostela. We pledge to be mindful, respectful, and care for The Camino. Now, do I hear more pledges ? :) Hopefully so.
 
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whariwharangi

Guest
I think its a cultural thing. Did you ever see the clean up crews on the streets Saturday/Sunday/Monday mornings?
 
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gwdelmar

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, September- October (2014) SJPP- SdC
Camino Portugues, September (2016) Porto-SdC
You probably can get a pledge from everyone in the Forum. I will give mine. However, you are in the presence of a nearly insignificant percent of the pilgrims who will walk, so the impact on the litter/sewage will not be large. Still, I commend the sentiment.:)

falcon, I totally agree with you. For what I have seen in this forum, I would say that it is a great one (forum) with many conscientious people. Even if the impact on the litter could be small, something is better than nothing.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
We can also spread the word. Raise the issue at shared pilgrim meals and whenever you get the chance - especially women to women. Show and tell! Ziplock plastic bag and small square of washable fabric. On my next Camino I'm carrying extra to give away.
And debunk the myth that toilet paper is "biodegradable" and therefore OK.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Luka, where are you at or what leg of the Camino did you complete today?
I started in León and finish tomorrow in Sarria (am in Triacastella now). I came from the VdlP, so many things have shocked me already ;-)

Today I passed by a house where they sold forestfruits on little plastic trays. Three pilgrims before me buyed a tray (like I did myself). After finishing half of it I decided to walk on (as they had done) and ate the rest as I walked. A little bit further on I found three trays on the path and in the bushes next to it. I collected them and held the four (mine included) in my hand till the next garbage bin. I passed the three fellow pilgrims and they must have seen the plastic trays in my hand, but they acted like nothing had happened...
 

CISSA69

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
I have walked the Camino de Santiago many many times, volunteered as a hospitalaro and at the CSJ offices in London and have presented on "Camino and Equipment" .
Have just completed my first Camino and am pleased to report that it exceeded all my expectations, I now understand why people do it again and again and again.

There is one thing though that took me totally by surprise, in a less than pleasant way, and that is the amount of litter on and around the path, sadly for almost its entire length.

More numerous than yellow arrows, and just as visible. On the track, beside the track, near the track, behind every tree, around every bend, mound, bush, fence post in fact in every ‘squattable’ location a Kleenex also marking the way of this world heritage walk.

Both my wife and daughter, along with many, many of their gender manage their toilette without littering the countryside so why is it that so many, apparently responsible walkers in every other way, think that this is somehow OK.

Not only that, in some sort of ‘group think’ they give permission to all who follow to do exactly the same. They may not travel that way again but please, can they give a thought to everyone else.
 
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eagleak

New Member
I started in León and finish tomorrow in Sarria (am in Triacastella now). I came from the VdlP, so many things have shocked me already ;-)

Today I passed by a house where they sold forestfruits on little plastic trays. Three pilgrims before me buyed a tray (like I did myself). After finishing half of it I decided to walk on (as they had done) and ate the rest as I walked. A little bit further on I found three trays on the path and in the bushes next to it. I collected them and held the four (mine included) in my hand till the next garbage bin. I passed the three fellow pilgrims and they must have seen the plastic trays in my hand, but they acted like nothing had happened...
Although your actions spoke volumes. For the Camino to be there for the next person we all need to be mindful of our litter. Have a peaceful Buen Camino into Sarria.
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
However, you are in the presence of a nearly insignificant percent of the pilgrims who will walk, so the impact on the litter/sewage will not be large. Still, I commend the sentiment.:)
I know what you mean, but if each of us just pledged to take a bag and pick up all the obvious (and non-toilet) litter over just 5kms each we would make a massive difference. In some places you would fill a bag in 20 metres or less but in others you could do 5-10 kms and leave it spotless.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Outdoor toilet just before Sarria. I saw this on almost any 'logical' toilet location...
 

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indyinmaine

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances - SJPdP to Santiago - Sept/Oct 2013
We can also spread the word. Raise the issue at shared pilgrim meals and whenever you get the chance - especially women to women. Show and tell! Ziplock plastic bag and small square of washable fabric. On my next Camino I'm carrying extra to give away.
And debunk the myth that toilet paper is "biodegradable" and therefore OK.
It's like evangelizing, only the subject is significantly different!
 
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Dennis D

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés - 2014
Francés - 2015
Francés - 2016
Francés - 2017
Francés - 2018
Francés - 2019
(2020 - ?)
The childish attitude that "They did this so I can too" regarding the discard of used toilet paper on The Way needs to be changed. The larger cities we walk through are very clean and welcome to us. We are guests in this beautiful country. My only negative feeling about this whole experience was my disapointment with my fellow peregrinos leaving "trash" along the path. This forum is a good place to remind ourselves to tell others to bring some plastic bags for proper disposal when the walk the Camino. For those that left no trash behind thank you!
 
Past OR future Camino
2012
Today, and tomorrow, in my home town we have an Airshow. People come from miles around to watch the war-mongers machines perform their tricks. Meanwhile the spectators who gather on the surrounding down-land for the spectacle will manage to haul their picnics and coolers to their favourite spots. Sadly by Sunday night they will be to tired to haul their trash away. We who live here will set out Monday morning with our trash bags and rubber gloves and Jeyes fluid (no sponsorship, no plug intended) and will clean up, again.

It's not just the Camino that suffers from the care-less or even those who just don't care but for many of us the soiling of the Camino is harder to take. I'll be out on Monday, without anger, because it is what we do here. If every Peregrino/a who visits this forum and reads this thread determines not to litter, and to litter-pick when they can, then the Camino will look a little better than my beautiful downs do tonight.
 

Dennis D

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés - 2014
Francés - 2015
Francés - 2016
Francés - 2017
Francés - 2018
Francés - 2019
(2020 - ?)
I doubt that many members of this forum left their trash behind. It is sort of like preaching to the choir. But we have the ability to influence the ones coming here for information in regards their upcoming Camino to add some small plastic bags to their pack in the case they need to stop before reaching the next village.
 

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