The Otago Polytechnic says a lack of public toilets in remote
areas is a problem that may be solved by developing portable
loos for rental campervans.
In 2012, The Star reported that human faeces were regularly
being discovered in the dunes behind Sandfly Bay because
there were no public toilets nearby.
At the time, the Dunedin City Council had no funds for
building toilets at the site, so the Otago Peninsula
Community Board approached the Otago Polytechnic to research
a low-cost lavatory for isolated areas.
Nearly two years later, the the results are nearly out and it
appears there is no ''magic toilet''.
Otago Polytechnic innovation workspace manager Eva Gluyas
said the study re-examined whether human waste on the
peninsula was a problem that needed a response.
The study was carried out by the polytechnic at its own
''We determined that whilst there is a health hazard it is
pretty marginal. However, the perceived situation and the
potential damage to tourism, not to mention that it is pretty
disgusting and wholly unacceptable to residents, clearly
indicates that there is a need to find a solution,'' Ms
Future by Design Ltd director Maggie Lawton was contracted by
the polytechnic to study the issue.
She found there was not much information available on the
scale of the problem but the main contributors were likely to
be freedom campers and other tourists in vehicles without
Potential solutions, such as low-cost composting toilets and
portable loos for vehicles were available but in each case
there were issues that needed to be overcome.
''There are many solutions but not one silver bullet,'' she
Ms Gluyas said the next step was to try to engage with
campervan companies and others in the tourism industry to try
to raise enough of a budget to find a solution for the
peninsula and many other sites around New Zealand.
The was a commercial opportunity for campervan companies to
get involved and help create a market-leading portable toilet
for use in their vehicles, she said.
- by Jonathan Chilton-Towle