Waste Disposal on Mount Kenya
Sanitation on Mount Kenya has become a concern as of late. Refuse left by careless hikers is not only an eyesore but can also be harmful to all forms of wildlife.
There is no proper means of waste disposal on the mountain other than packing litter out. Buried litter breaks down extremely slowly in this environment and is liable to be dug up by animals. Unsightly and unhealthy garbage pits result. Burning is illegal.
You will be asked to produce your litter at the gate on your return.
If you have extra supplies, give them directly to someone who will use them. Do not leave them out with the litter. Do not feed the animals as this disrupts their normal existence, increases impact on vegetation surrounding the huts / campsites and could result in the destruction of the animal itself.
Be a part of the Mt. Kenya cleanup effort. Bring back more than just your own litter. This will help make the mountain cleaner.
Sanitation on Mount Kenya
With so many individuals concentrated in limited areas on the mountain it is vital to protect water sources from contamination. Plan on purifying all drinking water, either by boiling, filtration, or use of purification tablets. Never use soap directly in water sources. Even the best biodegradable soaps take several days under ideal conditions to break down. Where possible move at least 10 metres away from the water sources before using soap.
Human faecal (fecal) material is a major source of water contamination on the mountain. Where they exist, use an established toilet (choo). Ultraviolet radiation from the sun and organisms present in the soil are the best decomposers of human waste. At high altitudes those soil organisms are not very abundant. Therefore, sunlight provides the best form of decomposition. Select a site well away from campsites, trails and at least 30 metres away from water, with lots of sunlight exposure. Leave faeces on the surface of the ground. Scattering and smearing the faeces around will maximise exposure to sunlight. At lower elevations such as below 3500 metres where soils are rich in decomposing organisms, burying faeces in shallow holes is the most effective method. Toilet paper and sanitary towels should be packed out with other litter.
Let’s keep it beautiful.