Even if you’ve been to other Burning events, you’re probably wondering about the loos. What are they like? Do they smell? How much privacy is there? Are there health concerns?
Here’s everything you need to know about Nowhere’s toilets from our wonderful Sanitation, Health and Innovation Team (S.H.I.T.)!
What kind of toilets does Nowhere have?
Starting in 2015, Nowhere has several kinds of toilets:
Nowhere’s classic long drop toilets (aka ‘loo with a view’) are open-air toilets, offering incredible views of the surrounding wilderness. Our fantastic toilet team has improved the toilet design over the years to enhance the experience while keeping disease-carrying flies out (which is why the toilet lids must always be kept closed when not in use). The three walls on the sides and back of the stall allow you to do your business in private while still getting fresh air; the open side looks away from the festival site.
Portable toilets / portapotties / “plastic castles” are the temporary toilets you often see at festivals and other events. They are fully closed with four walls and a ceiling, giving more privacy but less fresh air compared to the long drops. These will be strategically placed (including some urinals) to make sure there are enough toilets easily accessible for everyone.
Wheelchair accessible toilets will be available – some will be wide long drops and others will be accessible portapotties.
What should/shouldn’t go in the toilets?
The best way to remember is to know your “3 Ps”: Pee, Poop and Paper. That’s it!
If it’s not one of those, then don’t put it in. Moist wipes and menstrual products such as tampons in particular are not biodegradable, regardless of what the manufacturers say!
See more on this below.
There are some key differences compared to our toilets at home:
Only the “3 Ps” should go in any toilet: Pee, Poop, and Paper.
NO… wet wipes, tampons, multi-ply loo paper, tissues, condoms, cardboard she-pees, food, glow sticks, rubber chickens, plastic, cigarette butts or any other objects should find their way into any of the toilets. They cause blockages to the pipes used to empty portapotties, and are not biodegradable so they can’t go into the long drops: remember our Leave No Trace principle!
Each toilet is regularly stocked with 1-ply loo paper (which biodegrades better) and hand sanitiser. After using the loo, make sure it’s left in better condition than when you found it, and use plenty of hand sanitiser before leaving for your next adventure (puking your guts out in the heat and dust is really, really not fun – ask anyone who lived through the Shigella outbreak of 2013!)
A few additional things to know about using the long drop toilets:
Each long drop toilet has a brush, a bucket, and a shovel for adding dirt. Toilet paper is kept in a sealable plastic box as it can easily fly away and become MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) or get wet if it rains.
When you are finished:
- Cover your “3 Ps” by lifting the toilet seat and throwing in some soil from the bucket
- Brush soil off the area around the seat with the brush provided, if necessary
- Untie and close the lid to keep those nasty flies from flying in and out (and then visiting your kitchen!)
- Secure the lid of the loo paper storage box
- Refill the bucket with soil if empty, using the shovel provided
- Clean your hands!
Do you menstruate?
Having your period at Nowhere brings extra challenges, so we’ve posted some info on menstrual products and how to dispose of them on the forum. We’d love to hear your own tips and advice.
Can I pee in the bushes?
Although the land can handle a little pee, we don’t allow peeing in the bushes as it attracts flies (which bring disease) – not to mention smelling really bad to those camping nearby! Even worse, in 2014 some people used the bushes for everything – leaving behind poop, paper and even used tampons!
And even worse than that, our poor volunteers had to clean everything up! Yuck!
Help us prevent a repeat of the Shocking Shitty Paper Scandal of 2014. There is no magic poo fairy to pick up after us!
In 2013, about a third of Nobodies came down with a nasty bout of vomiting and diarrhoea caused by shigella.
The dreaded shigella disease and others like salmonella, dysentery and E.coli can spread rapidly at events like Nowhere because of poor hygiene. In addition to our hands carrying disease, flies can also carry diseases to our food after landing on decomposing organic matter such as faeces, garbage and animal corpses.
There are a few simple things you can do to help prevent the spread of disease:
- Keep the flies away from the toilets and rubbish! Always use the official toilets, and close the lid when you’re finished. Make sure your rubbish bins are closed properly with lids and bags are tied closed.
- Clean your hands well after using the toilet – using plenty of hand sanitizer is a good start, washing your hands with soap and water is even better.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water before eating or preparing food for yourself or others.
Who maintains our lovely shitters?
Like everything else at Nowhere, the toilets are maintained by us as a community. If you find empty toilet rolls, take them with you and recycle them in your camp. If you find a plastic container left open, please close it. If there is no hand sanitiser, use your own.
Each barrio also volunteers to maintain a toilet, and has a selfless Shit Ninja whose responsibility it is to make sure the toilet is clean and well stocked with loo rolls and plenty of hand sanitiser, make sure the structure is clean and safe and functional day and night for everyone, and that the fly traps are still doing their job. Shit Ninjas are awesome and are very loved by our community.
Sometimes they need some help, so:
- Make sure everyone in your barrio knows who they are and how to support them. If there’s a big rain storm, a trench might need to be hastily dug around some toilets to prevent them from overflowing. Being aware of this and getting all hands on deck quickly will make a huge difference.
- If you find a toilet in need of attention, please find a Shit Ninja and let them know what’s happened.
- If you see anyone peeing, pooping or mooping in the bushes, say something or tell one of our wandering Nomads.
Join the Shit Ninjas!
Fancy a crack (pun intended) at the job?
Join the awesome Shit Ninja team – simply email email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!Glossary
Poop – English term to describe excrements. Also known as poo, shit, crap, doo doo, mess, number two, turd…
Shitter – English term to describe the place excrements are deposited. Also know as toilet, bog, WC, loo, lavatory, water closet, potty, privy…
Shit Ninjas – the awesome Nobodies who work in the background, making shitters useable for all. According to ancient legend, there are 10 key traits all ninjas possess: Loyalty, bravery, strategic knowledge, diligence, trustworthiness, good health, responsibility, ingenuity, knowledge of the Dust and optimism. They are to be revered!