Public Inconveniences

Michael Clark

Michael Clark

The English corner with Michael Clarke

With the huge increase in numbers of foreign visitors to its shores Iceland is literally bursting at its seams. Just how long it can continue advertising unspoilt nature is the big question. Most other countries charge an entrance fee to their national parks and places of interest. In Iceland it is almost impossible to fence off the mountains, waterfalls and geysers, and a new problem is causing quite literally quite a stink-shit. There are almost no public toilets and many of the natural wonders are situated far from the Madding Crowd where running water and sewage facilities are sparse. Traditionally people have been allowed to camp for the night in just about any unfenced area and have been trusted to cover their tracks, or rather turds. Due to the sparseness of the population and the vastness of the open spaces no-one has cared a shit until recent years with the huge spike in tourism and in particular rented minivans with a bed in the back. And these tiny homes on wheels don’t have Porta-potties™ in the boot. Now people are parking for the night anywhere they can and leaving their calling cards or at least jobbies literally at every location. Among the places they have chosen to defecate are churchyards and cemeteries. Not very pleasant turning up to put flowers on the grave where uncle Magnus is interred to discover that he is in fact in turd.

So what can be done?

Signs could be mass produced and erected everywhere similar to those found in public parks. “Visitors are requested to clean up after themselves and dispose of fecal waste in the bins provided.” These could include a cartoon of a squatting pin man dropping his load. But I fear that the enjoyment of Iceland’s unspoilt nature would hardly improve with signs and bins of shit all over the place.

For years parliament has been debating on how to cope with increased tourism particularly places of interest and one of the ideas was charging literally an entrance fee to the country at point of entry. The idea was to improve facilities but opponents fear that the money would end up as just another tax opportunity and Icelanders feel they pay more than enough tax already. Perhaps the best idea is for someone to set up public conveniences that can be accessed through an app on a smartphone and here is perhaps an excellent business opportunity.

Failing that a fleet of drones with cameras and ass recognition software could be deployed and fines sent out for illegal defecations. Any other constructive ideas will certainly not to be poo-pood upon.

Akureyri vikublað 23. júlí 2015