New Zealand: 'Poo pots' offered to mountain climbers

Mount Taranki in New Zealand Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mount Taranaki is seen as a living ancestor by local Maori

Climbers of one of New Zealand's best-known peaks are being encouraged to use "poo pots" rather than foul the summit, it's been reported.

Piles of human faeces are becoming a problem at the summit of Mount Taranaki, as it's not practical to build a toilet atop the 2,815m (9,235ft) dormant volcano, New Zealand's 3News reports. Instead, climbers are being urged to carry their own mess back down with them, much as a dog walker would clear up after their pet. The problem is reportedly so severe that both the Department of Conservation and local Maori groups - known as iwi - want it to be compulsory for climbers to clear up after themselves, with poo pots being offered on the NZ Alpine Club's website for NZ$6 ($3.90; £2.70).

The problem is not unique to New Zealand - the government in Nepal has yet to come up with a solution to the problem of human waste disposal on Mount Everest.

Mount Taranaki, also known as Mount Egmont, the name given to it by Captain Cook, is regarded as a living ancestor by Maori groups, who are often annoyed by people breaking cultural taboos connected with the peak. In 2011, a barbecue at the summit caused particular fury, the website says. "Maori often personify landmarks and give them human form," Ranger Dave Rogers says. "The head is very sacred to Maori-dom, to stand on the summit is to stand on their ancestor's head."

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