Burn it,bag it or bury it. Cape York

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 13:29
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Just got back to Melbourne from Cape York. Along the Telegraph Track we loved the beautiful crystal clear rivers and creeks. Unfortunately the filth of toilet paper spoilt a number of spots. Why can't people bother to burn, bag or bury it?
The selfishness and lack of consideration for others and particularly the environment is appalling. As hubby said, "The greenies couldn't be blamed for getting the track closed." Also the massive dump of cans,bottles and general rubbish at Bertie's Creek was unbelievable. If you can carry it in you can carry it out! We picked up 6 cans from the pile and put them in our rubbish bag. If you head up that way please consider doing the same if you can. So ends my rant.
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Reply By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 13:59

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 13:59
I don't think that things have changed since we started camping in the 60's. You can take yours and a bunch of other stuff out but someone will always replace it with their junk.

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Reply By: Member - eighty matey - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 15:35

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 15:35
G'day Christine,

we prefer the travel where most people don't for just that reason.

I'm sure most people that are responsible for the toilet paper littering the landscape don't realise what the results of their actions, or lack of actions, will be when they just do their business and go on their way.

Burying the paper without burning it often results in curious animals digging up things for a look and a sniff. Those that just duck behind the tree and leave their paper behind must surely be doing it out of ignorance.

I know that years ago I must have been one of those ignoramus'. It has only been gaining experience over the years that I have learnt that I made many mistakes in our early days of camping and four wheel driving.

The fact that there are far more people at any one time now out there travelling and camping is only going to result in more rubbish and worse.

Whenever I have the opportunity to collect some rubbish and bring it back to somewhere it can be disposed of, I do.
Any opportunity we get to educate others and to clean up someplace we should do just that.

I'm not going to bag someone out for doing the wrong thing if they don't know they are actually doing something wrong either. Ignorance is rampant and I'm sure I am guilty in many respects.

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Follow Up By: Malcom M - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 15:39

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 15:39
Agree with this.
maturity brings with it a lot of changes in attitude. I was quite surprised to see how long toilet paper hangs around. Didn't think too much about it as a kid.
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Follow Up By: Member - Christine and Lindsay - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 18:47

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 18:47
It's a quick learning curve though, when you want to set up camp and realise that it is filthy. Surely anyone can figure that out pretty fast. We all make mistakes in the moment though. None of us humans are perfect!
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 15:37

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 15:37
Hi Christine and Lindsay
Although we have not done the trip to the Cape we have traveled extensively through WA. The "toilet paper" issue makes so many places very unpleasant. Lack of maintenance of highway road side toilets is also another area that needs to be addressed. On our trip across the Gibb in 2013 some of the places that are set aside as caged rubbish dumps were in an appalling state. The quarantine station on the Tanami just outside Halls Creek had to be seen to be believed. Nevertheless, as you so correctly stated, the attitude of those that leave their rubbish and their toilet paper is difficult to understand. It really isn't that difficult to carry your rubbish and dispose of it properly.
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 17:27

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 17:27
Don't bury any rubbish, you took it in, you can take it out with you.

As for toilet paper, we use a very simple system, that costs almost nothing and is easy to use.

Buy a packet of brown paper lunch bags from the supermarket, they cost a dollar or two for a pack of 100 or so.
Dig a hole, do the business, wipe your bits as required and put the used toilet paper or wet ones into one of the brown paper bags and then fill in the hole.
Place the brown paper bag into your rubbish bag, I actually have two separate plastic bags in the bag strapped to the rear spare wheel.
One is for burnable rubbish, paper, cardboard etc, the other bag holds non burnable stuff, cans, bottles, plastic etc.
Whack your brown paper bag used for the toilet into the burn bag.

If you have a suitable campfire then the contents of the burn bag are burnt at that time, if you don't have a fire we just carry it until we do or we find suitable disposal facilities in a town and despose of all the rubbish.

We have no smells and everyone knows the contents of the brown paper bags and treats them as such.
No issue with trying to burn paper in the toilet hole either, which doesn't always work well and removes the fire risk.
No rubbish left anywhere, if an animal digs up the toilet hole, no paper to scatter.

It's just so easy to do and take no effort at all.
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 17:55

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 17:55
Sensible and practical!

Cheers, Baz
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 23:14

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 23:14
I recommend using a plastic freezer bag, very light and thin and easy to flatten the air out and tie it up so completely sealed. Dispose of in the rubbish. They are so fine that I doubt there would be much harm done to the environment by burning it either.

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Reply By: Member - Christine and Lindsay - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 18:41

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 18:41
We don't bury other rubbish and only toilet paper with a deep hole. We mostly burn toilet paper in the fire or bag it out. Your paper bag idea is a good one.
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 20:45

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 20:45
I figure if we are able to offer a simple idea then hopefully a few others will catch on and change their habits.

It's not just Cape York, the problems are unfortunately all over the place.
I can never figure out why prople want to spend heaps of time and money to visit beautiful places and then think it's ok to leave their rubbish behind.
Wonder what they say when they visit a place littered by someone else before them?

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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 20:56

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 20:56
"Wonder what they say..........someone else before them?"

Probably think, rather ignorantly, that they're doing the right, or should that be the done, thing, John.


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Reply By: wendys - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 19:30

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 19:30
It does not sound as if much has changed. We did that trip in 1998. We were appalled at the volume of toilet paper rubbish strewn around the popular Dulhunty River camp. Had an altercation with a group of people in their 20's. They camped across the other side of the river, chain sawed timber down for a massive bonfire. Next day, they came across the river, stood IN the rapids washing themselves liberally with soap and shampoo. When a couple of us tried to point out - nicely - that this was not accepted camping behaviour, we were actually threatend with a physical attack. Made me ashamed to be a Victorian - their vehicles were Vic registered.
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Reply By: Top End Az - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 21:19

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 21:19
It's a problem all around Oz. Surely a few enviro friendly drop pit loos in popular spots wouldn't go astray. Especially in Qld where you need a permit for everything it seems, so why not direct some funds for wiping your backside.
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Follow Up By: Member -Hilton Hillbillies - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 10:29

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 10:29
There also seems to be a problem with people using pit toilets.
Many places we have stopped have pit toilets and the surrounding area still looks like it has been carpet bombed with toilet paper.
Maybe there needs to be a rethink as some of the areas that once had flush type toilets, have been replaced with composting ones that a lot of people won't use looking at the state of the surrounding area.
So what is environmentally worse a septic / mini treatment plant toilet or one that is not being used and people are using the ground around it.
By the way I'm not against pit toilets, I have used lots of them.
We carry our own chemical toilet that we use the cheap brand nappy treatment in.
Works very well and then use the dump points to empty.

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Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Aug 28, 2016 at 14:46

Sunday, Aug 28, 2016 at 14:46
There are a number of unaddressed problems that combine.

1/ Governments ( all of them) in general don't seem to want any responsibility for the issues.
They seem happy to fund street art and all sorts of other wastage .. seem all very keen on "tourism" but don't seem to want to put any money or effort into the problem.
Little or no clean up and poor rubbish collection.
Pretty much no effort and money for public education
Plenty of money for fancy signage at points of interest, but no signage that directs people about issues and beahvoir.
AND bugger all enforcement.

2/ there is this trend for composting toilets ...... the reason for them is they are supposed to be cheap to run and maintenance free ...... but nothing is further from the truth. and they use no water.
Every one I have been to stinks ..... I don't mean smells a bit stinks ..... this is becasuse there is no effort to manage them and thus there is insufficient dry matter to produce compost and balance the system ..... just a festering vat of excrement.
What is worse people do not close the lids and they end up full of flies and maggots.
Most women would not go near them, let alone sit on one.
Old school long drops would be cheaper to build and work better where there is little or no maintenance.

3/ there is a don't give a $#!^ attitude on the part of certain travelers ..... we cant do much about that.

Oh BTW those wet wipes ...... they aren't flushable, they don't biodegrade ... they are pretty much all plastic ........ they are manufactured intractable waste.

There has to be an alternative ...... some water and kitchen paper perehaps

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