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German Solveira - Managing Human Waste in Patagonia


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German Solveira - Managing Human Waste in Patagonia
Exit Strategies Conference 2010
Sustainable Summits Initiative

Published in: Environment
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German Solveira - Managing Human Waste in Patagonia

  1. 1. Tec. Germán SOLVEIRA Park Ranger Argentina Golden, CO. August 30-31; September 1st
  2. 2.  Started around 1930, with the first climbing club.  Very few people practiced the activity, increasing lately.  Around the seventies, trekking become popular, though there were no environmental criteria.  No “pack out trash” policies; no manage of sanitary waste.  The same situation occur in south Patagonia, 50/60 years later.
  3. 3.  Explosive increase of users in the last two decades.  Visitors from many different locations – many different uses and expectations.  Big parties allowed.  High concentration in climbing huts surroundings – no ALC established.
  4. 4. The analysis of human waste management in Argentinean Patagonia has to consider two very different situations…  Management of regular waste…  Management of sanitary waste…
  5. 5.  Social habits; no recycling culture in general visitors.  Like happens with urban garbage, the management solutions are to bury or to burn trash.  No additional regulations in backcountry areas.  Very few control personnel, no specific rangers.
  6. 6.  Same regulations in front and backcountry areas: drainage ditch as the only ruled system of treatment.  No retirement of waste is required in any facility. Only the withdrawal of regular waste is mandatory.  High concentration in those areas.
  7. 7. • The use of “cat holes” is advised. • A minimal distance of 200 ft. is required to any water source. The absence of regulations indicates this issue is not being face by managers… is it undetected yet? Is it uncomfortable to talk about it?
  8. 8. Managing human waste Public consciousness Regulations Economical resources Technology
  9. 9.  Important increase in the last decade.  More commitment in foreigners than in local users.  More commitment in young users than in traditional ones.
  10. 10.  Only regular garbage is required to be packed out.  There are no visitor´s regulations about sanitary wastes. Concessioners are required to manage, but not to retire them.  Friendly use is advised, but not enforced.  Very few rangers to control the areas. No backcountry rangers.
  11. 11.  Although is increasing, the economical circuit around backcountry use is still small.  Entrance fees and permits are free, with very few exceptions.  Government investment in the area is minimal.  Private investment made by concessioners are not focused in this issues.
  12. 12.  Mostly not available in the region.  No local answers, mostly because there is no market that demand it.  Very high cost of the existing alternatives.
  13. 13.  As managers, to learn about the experiences of other protected areas systems, avoiding their mistakes and copying what they did right.  As a society, to recognize the issue as a problem, looking together the ways to deepen this consciousness change lately born.