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Camping - Waste Disposal

Recent research in Australia on waste disposal at huts and campsites indicates that many people did not abide by minimal impact bushwalking (MIB) guidelines. Read more

Recent research in Australia on waste disposal at huts and campsites indicates that:

  • Many people did not abide by minimal impact bushwalking (MIB) guidelines.
  • The decay rates of toilet paper and faeces depended on the environment in which they were buried.
  • The decay rate did not correspond with the rate of pathogen survival; after fast decay, pathogens were still present in the soil.
  • There was little evidence of faecal contamination around campsites, however elevated nutrient levels were present.
  • Sites that are perceived as health risks should be monitored, and social surveys undertaken.

Recent research in Australia on waste disposal in backcountry areas indicates that:

  • The presence of human wastes and the products that help dispose of them, (e.g., tissues, toilet paper and tampons) are unpleasant for tourists and present possible health and environmental hazards;
  • Different products decay at differing rates, with unbleached toilet paper decaying most rapidly;
  • Decay rates depended on the climate and soil characteristics, with coastal eucalypt forest having the fastest rate of decay.
  • Enforceable regulations for waste disposal are proposed as an alternative to the current non-enforceable guidelines.
  • Disposal of faeces, toilet paper and tissues in treeless vegetation above 800m should be restricted.
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