There are several small spoil islands along the Indian River Lagoon, many of which are visited often by tourists. Since the islands are remote and only accessible by boat, there are no public bathrooms. Now Florida officials are asking tourists to stop pooping on the islands.
It is probably pretty natural to assume that since pooping is natural that it would not cause any harm to go when nature calls, even on a remote island. After all, it should break down into nothing, right?
Florida officials are saying otherwise. According to USA Today, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection claims human waste is upsetting the delicate ecosystem because the islands lack the proper soil effective enough to break down human feces. As a result, the wildlife - from dolphins to pelicans - are suffering.
Since human waste does not break down well on the islands it causes a health hazard, specifically so when rain washes it directly into the lagoon.
You may be wondering what you can do if there are no public bathrooms. Well, in order to curve the problem, some of the spoil islands have dispensers of bags specifically made for the disposal of human waste.
The bags are landfill-approved human waste bags, called "WAG bags," and can found on six of the lagoon islands or purchased at some marinas in the area. The bags work by breaking down the waste and neutralizing the smell.
If you plan to spend time on the islands you have to be prepared for the responsibility. Because there are no trash cans or bathrooms on any of the spoil islands, everything you bring ashore you must also be prepared to take with you - including the soiled poop bags.
Here's a Youtube video showing how you use the bags:
It's a small price to pay to spend time on a remote paradise, and by containing your waste you can feel good about doing your part to preserve the sensitive ecosystem.
To learn more about or to purchase WAG Bags, click here.