Cleaning Kilimanjaro trails and camps of human waste

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Cindy Outlaw

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Sep 1, 2015, 6:01:16 PM9/1/15
to Managing Human Waste in the Wild

Roger Robinson suggested I let this group know about the work being done regarding human waste on Mount Kilimanjaro trails.

Kilimanjaro hikers, trails & toilets summary:

Kilimanjaro sees approximately 50,000 hikers per year on 5 main routes to the summit. These hikers can employ between 100,000-200,000 guides and porters to support their climb. Trip lengths usually range from 5-10 days depending on the route and the number of acclimatization days built into the trip. Hiking time between camps is 4-6 hours. Each camp has several pit toilets and the trails usually have a toilet at a half-way break area. When full, a pit toilet is covered and the shelter moved to a different location.

 

A current Kilimanjaro human waste problem:

Kili hikers and staff members will defecate on the trails and in the camps for many reasons including the following:

     -they are at a place on the trail without a toilet and can’t wait until one is found

     -the nearby pit toilet is either occupied, completely full of waste or is dirty

     -they don’t want to walk to the closest toilet

As a result, it is easy to find human feces and toilet paper littering the trails and campsites.

 

The clean-up plan:

-The Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) will issue a policy that requires Kili tour operators to enforce the use of either a pit toilet, a portable toilet or a WAG bag by their clients & staff. No enforcement means the loss of their permit to have clients on Kili.

- WAG bags are taken down the mountain by each group, deposited into receptacles and collected for recycling into compost.

-A crew will be hired to clean the trails and camps of any feces and toilet paper that currently exists on the surface. This process may take 1-2 years depending on funding and staffing.

 

Schedule:

-October to November 2015:  Initial training and teaching on the new policy

-January to June 2016: Implementation of new policy and the start of cleaning

 

It’s probably not going to be an easy change for anyone and I welcome any comments or suggestions you have. I’ll update the group in the future on the progress.

Cindy Outlaw


Rob Lindner

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Jan 8, 2016, 2:51:21 AM1/8/16
to Managing Human Waste in the Wild
Hi Cindy,

Thanks for sharing.  Can you provide an update on the policy you described?

Many thanks,
Rob Lindner

Karsten Gjefle

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Jan 8, 2016, 7:14:15 AM1/8/16
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Hi Cindy,

Long term composting toilets toilets should be installed - this is a closed system that does not require water for flush and can handle water if that is used instead of paper. It would require a budget for installation but would be very appropriate for the setting where digging out pits is not a pleasant job. Very low maintenance for off grid locations - the only moving part is a fan and this could be solar and/or wind in addition to light from solar as well. Not a new invention so we know it works. 

Kind regards,
 
Karsten Gjefle
Director/Founder
Sustainable Sanitation Design
 
Mobile: + 47 410 422 75
 
Skype: karsten.gjefle

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Kind regards,
 
Karsten Gjefle
Director/Founder
Sustainable Sanitation Design
 
Mobile: + 47 410 422 75
 
Skype: karsten.gjefle
 
 

Cindy Outlaw

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Jan 15, 2016, 6:46:48 AM1/15/16
to Managing Human Waste in the Wild

Cleaning Kilimanjaro Trails and Camps of Human Waste – Update on January 15, 2016

 

Meetings with National Park staff and Kili guides/porters:

Several meetings were held during November 2015 in Tanzania to discuss the feasibility of a policy that bans defecation on the ground and requires the use of a pit toilet, a portable toilet or a WAG bag by everyone on the mountain – hikers, their support staff and park employees.

 

Reactions:

National Park leadership – The park would like to implement this policy but is concerned that used WAG bags will be discarded on trails which will increase the waste problem. Several methods of WAG bag disposal were discussed but focus is on one solution: wag bags can be made of composting material so that they can be deposited into the next pit toilet passed. This decreases the distance the bags have to be carried.

Kili Guides and porters – They welcome a policy that keeps the mountain free of feces and TP on the ground but…… they are very hesitant about carrying their own or their client’s used WAG bag. They proposed the above solution to deposit the bag in the closest toilet to minimize carrying time. They also emphasized the need for education of the new policy.

 

Next Steps:

-Decide on a WAG bag disposal solution - carrying off the mountain or pit toilet disposal

-Notification and education of the new policy

-Begin with a pilot project on one Kili trail

-Begin the clean-up of existing waste on the ground on the piloted trail

 

Addition to initial plan:

Geoff Hill, who is a member of this Google Group, will travel to Tanzania in February 2016 and will generate a human waste management plan for the National Park.

 

Schedule:

I am in Tanzania Jan-Feb 2016 working with the National Park to determine dates for the “Next Steps” items.

Rob Lindner

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Jan 16, 2016, 12:16:30 AM1/16/16
to Managing Human Waste in the Wild
Cindy,

So excited to read about such progress.  My colleagues and I teach LNT and introductory conservation courses to guides (safari and mountain) in the Kili area.  Unsurprisingly, feces on the mountain is a heavily discussed topic.  While it has been encouraging to see the changes in guide mentality, we were clearly missing an important component of the mountain population.  Fortunately, we now working with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project to provide training for the 3,000+ Kili porters.  Our next series of courses will begin in April, which will be perfect timing to follow up Geoff's work. 

Please keep me in the loop; we are keen to collaborate.

Looking forward to continued progress,
Rob

Cindy Outlaw

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Feb 25, 2016, 2:47:39 PM2/25/16
to Managing Human Waste in the Wild

Cleaning Kilimanjaro Trails and Camps of Human Waste – Update #2 on February 25, 2016

 

Current Status:

Kilimanjaro National Park staff transitions -

I was in Tanzania for 5 weeks during January & February 2016.  During this time, several Kilimanjaro National Park employees were moved to new positions including the two main contacts on this project, the Park Warden and the Director of Tourism. The country is experiencing staff shifts throughout many government offices due to changes implemented by the country’s new president.

 

February meeting with Tanzania National Park staff / Delay of Geoff Hill’s visit to Kili -

The project was presented to seven staff members at the Tanzania National Park offices. They verbally gave approval and said written approval would come within 3 days. When the written approval was not received, the February visit by Geoff Hill to do a Waste Management Plan was delayed.

 

Next Steps:

- A contact near the Kilimanjaro National Park office has been tasked to get to know the new staff at the park, present the project’s history and get their approval to move forward.

- Another contact near the Tanzania National Park office is working to track down the promised written approval.

- Geoff Hill’s trip will be rescheduled after written approval is received. Target date is July or September 2016 to avoid the rainy season on Kili.






On Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at 3:01:16 PM UTC-7, Cindy Outlaw wrote:

Kathleen Meyer

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Feb 25, 2016, 3:01:02 PM2/25/16
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Cindy, 

Keep the faith, good woman!!!!

Cheers,
Kathleen 
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