“Freedom Tourists” Blamed for Waste Problems in New Zealand

Travel News — By Carlo Alcos on August 4, 2010 at 8:31 am

The New Zealand Herald recently reported a trend of “freedom tourists” who defecate in public spaces and leave other waste behind. They point specifically at travelers who rent vans without toilet facilities and cyclists. At the Local Government New Zealand annual conference, the Government was asked to bring in legislation to deal with the problem, including instant fines to any campers caught using the countryside as their personal toilet.

Tourism Minister and Prime Minister John Key said,

There is an awful lot of human waste and rubbish that’s being left behind by these freedom travellers and obviously that’s of real concern.

Discussed was the possibility of banning the rental of vans without toilets, but it was admitted an unlikely solution as tourists would just rent cars and sleep in them.

Probably the best way to deal with the issue is through education. The website Leave No Trace details the proper way to dispose of human waste. Problems of not dealing with waste properly include contaminating water sources, spreading disease, aesthetics, and slow rate of decomposition.

Catholes are the most widely accepted method of burying feces. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Find a spot at least 200 feet from water, trails, and camp.
  2. With a garden trowel, dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and 4-6 inches in diameter.
  3. Dispose of human waste in hole and cover with original soil and other natural materials.

Be a responsible camper!

[Image: g-hat / Flickr]

Tags: camping, cycling, New Zealand, waste management

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