Hikers Trash

07 Jun 2019 03:22 - 07 Jun 2019 03:24 #75055 by DeonS
Hikers Trash was created by DeonS
I am almost ashamed to call myself a hiker never mind amountain guide. On my recent trip to Mafadi we slept at Centenary Hut and except of the damaged roof, I was shocked with the amount of trash in and around the hut. I shows signs of recent use with tins in a hole dug right in front of the hut, USA army MRE wrappers and loads and loads of wet wipes. In the ground behind the hut looking towards Cathkin, loads of wet wipes in the
“toilet” area. People need to realise that wet wipes need to be carried out as it does not decompose, at least the toilet paper burns when they burn around the hut. We carried some of the trash out on our way back but it did not make a dent in in the amount left behind.
Last edit: 07 Jun 2019 03:24 by DeonS.
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07 Jun 2019 08:35 #75056 by GriffBaker
Replied by GriffBaker on topic Hikers Trash
Hey Deon, thank you for pointing this out and I echo your sentiments.

On a recent trip to Ledges cave, I was shocked at the 'toilet area' in the rockfall around the corner. Disgusting with most people not even making an effort to cover their mess. The cave itself had numerous items of trash left behind by hikers. 

Unfortunately the wild places these days seem to be attracting a new breed of hiker 'adventurer', one that claims to love the outdoors but is really just a narcissist on a quest to tick cool things off the list and show off where they've been.

Littering, huge groups, drones, helicopters.... 
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07 Jun 2019 14:31 - 07 Jun 2019 14:32 #75058 by Dave
Replied by Dave on topic Hikers Trash
I agree: the ignorance and carelessness is baffling. I have been hiking with friends who are not ignorant, and even they have suggested, on a damp day, that we make a fire in a cave. They simply aren't aware of the rules or the potential damage and need to be informed.

There has been some good discussion of this topic in the  Cave Etiquette  thread, and Intrepid has made numerous suggestions that could alleviate the problem and would cost little to nothing for EKZNW to implement. Considering my previous attempts to enter into discussions with EKZNW, I have little confidence that our suggestions would be even heeded, but we might at least make them. Two of Intrepid's suggestions:

1. Hikers should be asked if they have trowels. Interestingly, 55% of respondents to Intrepid's poll said there shouldn't be a mandatory check, but, as we've seen, common decency can't be assumed, and a check would at least open the opportunity for them to be informed or reminded. Disallowing hikers from entering without a trowel seems scarcely enforceable and would probably not help or possibly even exacerbate the disregard.

2. Designated toilet areas for popular caves close to the offices, e.g. Xeni, Marble Baths, Pillar, etc., or signs informing hikers of what we take to be common sense. The multiple messes on Pillar Cave's very doorstep, the last time I was there, were incomprehensible. I agree that signs diminish the wilderness experience, and there is also the chance that they will be vandalized, stolen, or simply disregarded, but would we or EKZNW rather clean up someone else's mess every time? Or perhaps a chiseled rock, like those giving directions at junctions, would be more discreet and less vulnerable?

There are already reminders on the hiking register slip, but these could be made bigger and bolder. Also, it would cost nothing for officers to be encouraged, as a standard practice, to give friendly reminders when hikers leave the office that the Berg is a World Heritage Site and should not be polluted.

I think we as conscientious hikers also have a responsibility, as unpleasant as it may be, to report litterers if we have good evidence or chastise them if we see them polluting. I remember approaching the Sterkhorn campsite early one morning to find a mess practically on the path, with toilet paper strewn all over the adjacent bushes. There were two lads at the campsite, the fresh mess almost certainly theirs; I refrained from broaching the issue as I wasn't in the mood, but I regret it. It feels almost absurd to have to explain to an adult that human waste ought to be buried in a wilderness area, but how else will they learn?
Last edit: 07 Jun 2019 14:32 by Dave.
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09 Jun 2019 07:43 - 09 Jun 2019 07:48 #75060 by DeonS
Replied by DeonS on topic Hikers Trash
I agree with asking to see a trowel, however I have seenpeople in my groups before going to the toilet for a pee and then just leaving
the toilet paper there, when spoken to they will ask; but is it not
bio-degradable? And this is after you have brief them on how to go to the
toilet. Even worse is the new tendency to use wet wipes and that will not break
down. On a recent Mini Traverse we passed a camping spot justabove Mnweni Pass, used by a fairly large group, and they “buried” their trash,
and it was all dug up again by the wild animals. Most of the trash was ladies
products and wet wipes and tins, plastic and paper they tried to bury was in a very "shallow grave".



When I reported it, it was like well it’s not in our areanot much we can do. 


This is the trash at Centenary Hut

Unfortunately there is no quick fix, we live in a world where people just dump trash next to the bin. The thing we need to do is educate the people in our group and keep reminding them to carry their trash out, I think it is up to the group leader to be firm and make sure the group practice LNT principals.

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Last edit: 09 Jun 2019 07:48 by DeonS. Reason: To add in

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09 Jun 2019 15:53 #75061 by Richard Hunt
Replied by Richard Hunt on topic Hikers Trash
Wow, this world is in a real MESS. I struggle to understand how these hikers can throw their litter in these beautiful conservation areas. Their minds must be very confused, darkened and full of garbage, a people who have lost connection with the reality of life!!!!
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09 Jun 2019 19:07 #75062 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic Hikers Trash
We stayed in Stable Cave for 2 nights on our pine eradication hike last weekend.

What I can't understand, is how someone with even limited intelligence or consideration, can consider it OK to have a cr@p on the path going down to the water???!!

It had since been covered with a rock and soil, but still on the path..

I don't mind picking up a bit of litter left in a cave, though obviously this should not even be necessary, but I balk at stompies and human waste.

I honestly don't know if education or lack thereof is the answer and problem,, I think it's more lack of consideration, which no amount of education can fix..
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09 Jun 2019 19:10 #75063 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic Hikers Trash
PS I 100% agree with Deon's post above that it is the resposibility of the group leader to see that the environment is left better, or certainly no worse, than it was found..
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13 Jun 2019 16:09 #75072 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Hikers Trash
Yowzers.  This is a first that i have seen people trying to bury their trash instead of taking it back with them!!!!  Disgusting!!!!  Take a some mini pringles with you as soon as the pringles container is empty, it makes a perfect container to squash that days trash into.  

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18 Jun 2019 20:46 #75086 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Hikers Trash
Thanks to everyone that cleans up the litter! That is actually part of the solution and we can make a big difference this way. Not only does it clean up the place but, to a degree, people are less inclined to leave litter in a clean environment that in one where there already is some litter. Education, leadership, and enforcement/management by authorities are definitely part of the solution too. We will never really totally eliminate the problem, we can manage it though. And these issues are not unique to the Berg or South Africa, it is a human problem.

I have also encountered human poo right on the trail, sometimes covered with stones, other times not. That one really blows me away.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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