Certain places in the world are having problems with that one thing most of us prefer not to discuss: poop. When you visit these places, there is the likelihood (but not a certainty) that you will find feces just lying around. Even if you don’t, you definitely won’t miss the unmistakable stench.
These malodorous issues aren’t just limited to remote destinations in Third World countries, either. Proving that the god of poop (if there is one) does not discriminate, these poop problems cut across villages, towns, and cities in countries both rich and poor. Read on for some facts that never make into travel brochures.
Roadside defecation is a common thing among toddlers and small children in China. Some adults do it, too, but they form the minority. Many parents have no qualms with their children pooping in public, and some even dress their toddlers in crotchless pants that leave their behind exposed so they can quickly get down to business.
The bigger problem is that Chinese parents are exporting their toddlers’ poor pooping habits out of China. There is a sign outside the Louvre in Paris warning tourists not to allow their toddlers leave a dump in the surroundings. The sign is written in Mandarin Chinese, so we know who it is directed at.
Public pooping isn’t the only problem some countries have with Chinese tourists. They’ve been accused of disobeying traffic rules, spitting in public, and vandalizing public property. This irresponsible behavior has irked several Chinese citizens, including Deputy Premier Wang Yang, who did not hide his displeasure. Incidentally, a 15-year-old Chinese tourist desecrated the walls of a 3,500-year-old Egyptian temple by writing “Ding Jinhao was here,” around the time the deputy premier was venting.
A hotel in the Maldives started removing kettles from rooms after staff realized that Chinese tourists used them to cook seashells and boil noodles. The Chinese soon found out and boycotted the hotel until it returned the kettles to the rooms.
There is so much poop on Mount Everest that climbers now go up there with rolls of carpets to spread under their tents. If they don’t, they could be sleeping on piles of poop. Climbers who melt snow to drink aren’t safe from the poop scourge, either. For all we know, they could be drinking an unhealthy mixture of feces and water.
The problem is that the only toilets on Everest are located at Base Camp, which is 5,500 meters (18,000 ft) up the mountain. For comparison, Camp III is at 7,000 meters (23,000 ft), Camp IV sits at 7,900 meters (26,000 ft), and Mount Everest itself reaches 8,848 meters 29,029 ft above sea level. This means that climbers going higher up need to dig into the snow to do their business.
Everest is extremely cold, so poop only freezes and never decomposes. The freezing checks the spread of diseases, but the poop sometimes mixes with snow, becomes airborne, and causes infections. This is why intestinal and respiratory infections are common among people climbing Everest.
Mount Everest’s poop problem becomes worse when we realize that poop on the mountain don’t just remain there and wait for climbers to sleep on it. It’s constantly moving down the mountain, which means that the snow at the lower areas of the mountain isn’t poop-free, either.