Shtting in the bush
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I make no apologies for the heading.
After spending nearly 30 years travelling the outback, I have realised that many people simply do not know what to do for toilet facilities in the bush.
I am no expert and I hate rules, but this is both a health issue and affects many other people. After a recent trip to some remote parts of WA I have become disillusioned. I had always believed that 4WDrivers were responsible, and they are...for the shit left behind, because quite simply only 4WD vehicles can access these places. People, we need to sort out this silly attitude of leaving crap behind, because if we don't the authorities will, by banning access. How do I know? I was a Shire President and had the responsibility to ensure our bush was not destroyed and the easiest way to do that is by introducing prohibiting legislation. This is not what we want. Already station owners in the Pilbara are denying access to some areas and recently and most frightening, one even had a member of the public charged with trespass!
WAKE UP we are going to be our own end to this fun activity!!!
I guess nearly everyone lights a campfire at some time. I burn all my rubbish on the fire after cooking is done. This helps remove food debris from tins and destroys things that will burn. Sure, there may be some pollution from the burning, but the waste will end up in landfill somewhere anyway as pollution, so I don't really see it as a problem.
However, in the morning the fire ashes should be raked thoroughly to remove the unburnt items, and believe it of not, aluminium cans don't vanish, they usually become a molten pile of aluminium that is horrible when the ashes have finally blown away. All this can then be put into a rubbish bag and disposed of in the nearest town. Don't use roadside bins. And remove any other rubbish left behind by others. Don't be embarrassed to do this in front of friends, because this is how people learn.
If everyone follows this simple idea then we can keep a nice camp spot clean for others.
This is the delicate part. You need toilet paper, a box of matches, a small shovel and perhaps some wet ones.
The Australian Army teaches that a hole should be dug at least 30cm deep as a toilet. This makes good sense and is deep enough to stop dingoes digging it up. A toilet site should be well away from the camp area and in a place where it is not likely to be tripped over by others. And I have to say, please, please do not shit near water ways!
I always burn paper if possible, bearing in mind fire laws. Why? Simply because the paper takes the longest time to break down, and if dogs do dig up the hole the paper won't blow everywhere. I have seen massive missives on other sites about burning dunny paper, but just use a bit of common sense. (As a disgusting aside, dogs dig up the hole to sniff who has been there, and then eat what they find, but they don't like paper!)
The wet ones serve two purposes. The second is to wipe your hands, which is essential for good hygiene. The first is to finish the job where the toilet paper might have missed. It makes me feel a lot more comfortable doing this and knowing things are really squeaky clean! You can either bury this or quietly put the wet ones on the fire when no one is looking (and not cooking). They will burn but it takes a bit of time.
Then fill the hole in and tamp it down.
Why do I have to say this, simply because of the amount of toilet paper and faeces I have seen left by filthy people in the bush!
Please watch this educational video by Jim McNab. He reflects my views fairly well in this two part video series.
Like everyone else, I love a campfire. It seems to make a natural focal point for any camp. But often there is no wood, or it is just too dangerous to light a fire. But I have enjoyed many nights without the glow of a fire and recommend everyone try it.
If you do have a fire make sure it is extinguished before leaving. I usually throw our wash water over the embers as the last thing before leaving a site. I am not convinced burying a fire is the right thing to do, sometimes it hides the hot embers and someone else can stumble over it, either in their vehicle or on foot, which is even worse. I do agree though, it is sometimes prudent to cover the embers, but I guess as is often the case, common sense should rule.
Don't leave home without it. Perhaps if you don't have common sense, you shouldn't leave home!
And just how common is it these days?