German Solveira - Managing Human Waste in Patagonia
Tec. Germán SOLVEIRA
Golden, CO. August 30-31; September 1st
Started around 1930, with the first climbing club.
Very few people practiced the activity, increasing
Around the seventies, trekking become popular,
though there were no environmental criteria.
No “pack out trash” policies; no manage of sanitary
The same situation occur in south Patagonia, 50/60
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.
The analysis of human waste management in
Argentinean Patagonia has to consider two very
Management of regular waste…
Management of sanitary waste…
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.
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.
• The use of “cat holes” is advised.
• A minimal distance of 200 ft. is required to any water
The absence of regulations indicates this issue is not
being face by managers… is it undetected yet? Is it
uncomfortable to talk about it?
Important increase in the last decade.
More commitment in foreigners than in local users.
More commitment in young users than in traditional
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
Although is increasing, the economical circuit around
backcountry use is still small.
Entrance fees and permits are free, with very few
Government investment in the area is minimal.
Private investment made by concessioners are not
focused in this issues.
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.
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.