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Rodney Garrard - Inappropriate Waste Disposal in Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park


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Inappropriate Waste Disposal in Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park Rodney Garrard

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Rodney Garrard - Inappropriate Waste Disposal in Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park

  1. 1. Inappropriate waste disposal in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park (NZ); potential problems, practical solutions and visitor perceptions. Rodney GarrardRodney Garrard Presentation based on Rodney’s MSc thesisPresentation based on Rodney’s MSc thesis School of Geography, Environment, and EarthSchool of Geography, Environment, and Earth SciencesSciences Victoria University of Wellington, NZVictoria University of Wellington, NZ
  2. 2. Geographic setting - ‘the jewel of the NZ landscape’ ““There are some areas in the Park which are not very pretty. At the end of the summer season when all the snow has melted, all that mountaineers have left behind comes to the surface, rubbish, left over food (placed in the snow for cold storage), toilet waste, the lot!” (Gottlieb Braun-Elwert, 2006 pers. com).
  3. 3. ““Recently a large party (10+) camped at the 'playing fields'. There wasRecently a large party (10+) camped at the 'playing fields'. There was faeces behind quite a few rocks and rocks were torn out of the ground forfaeces behind quite a few rocks and rocks were torn out of the ground for making the tents secure. This place is right on the border line for alpinemaking the tents secure. This place is right on the border line for alpine plant life, very delicate indeed”. Gottlieb Braun-Elwert (pers. com)plant life, very delicate indeed”. Gottlieb Braun-Elwert (pers. com)
  4. 4. ““There is a lot to be learned from climbing mountains, more than you might think, about life,There is a lot to be learned from climbing mountains, more than you might think, about life, about saving the Earth, and not a little about how to go about bothabout saving the Earth, and not a little about how to go about both”” David BrowerDavid Brower
  5. 5. The onslaught of numbers… 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 16000 1981/82 1986/87 1991/92 (poor info) 1996/97 2000/01 2003/04 2009/10 (6% annual incr)
  6. 6. part of the solution - ‘the poo pot’ “I have to admit buy-in for the initiative has been marginal at best” (VanderSpek, 2005, pers. Com).
  7. 7. The ‘knowledge experts’
  8. 8. Who are the knowledge experts • 57% male; 43% being female (n = 138 including interviews), • 38% between 20 – 30yrs of age, • 27% from New Zealand, • 38% response rate from questionnaires left at huts, • 88% of respondents planned to be in the park less than a week.
  9. 9. countries of residence Norway 1% Austria 2% Italy 2.5% Holland 3.5% Israel 6% Switzerland 2.5% Australia 9.5% Ireland 3.5% USA14% Canada 7% German 11% UK 9.5% NZ 27%
  10. 10. Overview of results • Compliance with DoC’s ECC is poor. • While their was awareness of not disposing of waste next to huts, camps and water supplies – few had a notion of the practicalities in an alpine setting. • Some respondents indicated that human waste in the alpine is natural and degrades. • There was an unexpectedly high response in the support of the pots (but only 26% had heard of them). • I uncovered some of the reason why users objected to the use of pots - so that park managers can increase ‘buy-in’.
  11. 11. Opinions of the poo pots Suggestions for improvement #2 – Barron Saddle Hut “I used the poo pot for the first time in NZ. I had not heard of it before. I think this is a great idea to reduce the amount of human waste in the alpine environment. But I think one toilet per hut is necessary as well”. (Germany) “I think the pots could be made more secure. Also I think they could provide latex gloves and alcohol hand wash for hygiene purposes”. #1- Barron Saddle Hut “They do the job. However, I am not sure if people are likely to carry their human waste for more then a day? Especially considering the pots are not really suited to size for a week or so travel!” (Germany) “Provide specific information on their use, why? Etc. Maybe different sizes for days in the Park and a map labeling where users are able to discard their starch bags with waste in hut facilities. I also suggest a more robust container”. # 1 De la Beche Hut “I am enthused about the new poo pot concept, which is inline with my leave only footprints philosophy. However, I am worried about the durability of the container and the potential for a catastrophic failure of the pot in my bag!” (Australia) “Due to the size of the pot required to carry human waste and the limitation of space and weight that constraints climbers, this pot seem to be a good compromise. However, what about providing a more studier container such as a Nalgene bottle like they do in Yosemite National Park, USA?” # 2 De la Beche Hut “Great idea, but they are not very bomb proof!”. (New Zealand) “Make them more bomb proof (i.e, leak/burst proof).” # 9 Plateau Hut “Great idea” (Canada) “They could be more rigid in design. I would be a bit worried about hygiene also, lucky I had some alcohol hand wash, this kit could be provided?”. # 5 Kelman Hut “These are a great idea for heavily used routes, good for use on route and small camps” (New Zealand) “I think that these containers should be provided when climbers sign in with DOC. This will ensure that all responsible climbers are provided with them. Check out the WAG bag option that certain USA national parks implement”. ‘poo pots’
  12. 12. results cont, • 58% outlined that there is a general lack of information regarding human waste disposal in the park. E.g., • “A brochure could be part of the instruction leaflet of best practice in the Park. It should be mandatory, you get your instruction booklet when you pay your hut fees and it outlines what is expected of you during your stay in the Park. For example: O.K. you are going to Mueller Hut, read this, this is what is expected of you, it’s part of our policy”. Both in USA and Canada, this is the norm” (Braun-Elwert, Mountain Guide, 2005, pers. com). • “A brochure outlining what is expected of the Park’s casual user would be a great start. Outlining the tōpuni area would be great on the map of the brochure for example. I wasn’t aware of the area, nor the implications waste have on cultural associations Māori have with the area” (Knott, Mountaineer, 2006, pers. com).
  13. 13. LAC & Adaptive Management 1. Establish prescriptive management objectives (Outcome based). 2. Select indicators of resource and social conditions 3. Specify standards for indicators 4. Monitor conditions Informal / Formal- quantitative and /or qualitative 5. Compare conditions to standards (Information capture and dissemination) 6a. Standards exceeded (Yes) 6b. Standards exceeded (No) 7. Evaluate and identify causal factors 8. Select and implement management options Phase One: Steps 1- 4 are finding out about complex situations:- Accessing information and knowledge and community dialogue Phase Two: Steps 5 – 8 taking action to improve situation Continual Feedback Phase 1 + 2 = effective learning environment. Diagram illustrating an adaptive management model utilising contemporary LAC planning framework (adapted from Marion & Reid, 2004).
  14. 14. Where to from here? • A line between acceptable (ethical) behaviour and unethical behaviour does exist in the mountains. We can no longer ignore it - • On-going evaluation of ACC; • Improve the contribution of the adventure tourism industry to sustainable mountain activities; • Commitment to visitor impact monitoring • Needs to be a strategic vision for management of NZ’s mountain-based tourism/recreation industry.
  15. 15. Thanks..