Open defecation is a widespread problem, especially in developing countries, where it has significant public health effects.
Just last month, a beach in Ibiza was closed to the public after high levels of human faecal matter was found in the sea. The presence of human poo was blamed on emissions from boats in the area.
It's a problem here in New Zealand, too, with Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult commenting last year that visitors are using the area's wilderness "as a giant toilet" with faeces and toilet paper found scattered around several reserves.
DOC suggests poo tubes, poo pots and poo holes, so what about a hitch mountable portable toilet? Facebook page 'This Is Why I'm Broke' gave the product exposure yesterday and it proved a controversial feature.
Dominic Urso Clint Wienke captured this journalist's thoughts, "Can't tell if this is genius... or beyond stupid."
On Amazon, the US$95 tool has had a few reviews over the years, and they paint a picture to haunt DOC rangers' nightmares.
WayneChicago (Top Contributor: Golf) starts his review by encouraging purchasers to "forget the bucket", adding that the manufacturer just puts that on the photos so the EPA (environmental protection agency) "doesn't make a stink about it".
This charming man goes on; "Advice: keep feet out in front of you like you're on an elementary school swing--the ground splatter can be unsightly on your Gore-tex hikers.
"Then, just use a swatch of biodegradable TP from Camper's World (always be sanitary, people. No exceptions!), stand and pull up your knickers, throw the bumper dumper back under the truck seat, and you're off. All you'll see in your rear view mirror as you drive away is a steaming pile of fresh manure with a little white hank of TP on top growing smaller like an abandoned pet. But don't sweat the small stuff: one hearty rainstorm and it'll be returned to the eco-system and come back as a bunch of fragrant daisies. Probably wind up in a glass mason jar on someone's kitchen table for Mother's Day."
His review, which runs nearly 2,000 words, ends with, "Handymen, you could make one out of PVC pipe, or a few 2x4s, in one afternoon. But why would you when this made-in-China gem is so effective? Amazon can express ship it to your house and, in a day or two, call in sick to work. Grab a couple beefy burritos and a thermos of black coffee, drive out to a rural road and ride this baby like it's an angry rodeo calf."
Keisha, another reviewer, "Great product! I actually passed out from the exhaust fumes while reading the paper on the bumper dumper. Thank god my wife didnt get above 45mph before realizing I was still back there!"
James had a similar experience, he claims, "...4 out of 5 stars. I would have given it 5 stars, but like others, I found that once we hit 45 mph the toilet paper began to unroll, there was some 'splash-back' from bucket contents, and it became difficult to remain seated."
Dizzy Wizzle; "Suffering from Irritable Bowl Syndrome can be crippling, but not anymore! no need to suffer while searching for a clean gas station bathroom on long trips. With the Bumper Dumper just turn on the caution lights and pull over to the nearest curb. People often drive by with a 'Why didn't I think of that' expression on their faces. Thanks Bumper Dumper!!"
One family wouldn't be without their Bumper Dumper, "Update: we've now been using this for 2 years. We bought a shower tent and cut the bottom out. Dig a hole, pull the bumper dumper over the top, put the shower tent on for privacy, and camp for days. Just make sure to keep a cup or shovel nearby to sprinkle dirt after each use. My kids have lovingly deemed it "la poopoo." I don't know how we ever camped without it.
DOC's guide to disposing of human waste where no toilets are provided:
Make your own poo tube
"Go to a plumbing or hardware shop for large diameter PVC pipe and ends. Attach screw caps to each end. Glue one end shut and tape on some webbing for easy carrying," DOC advises.
"Use paper or other biodegradable material to wrap waste before depositing in tube. Your tube will be durable and reusable."
DOC instructs people to use the 'fish and chip' method by depositing waste onto paper or in a biodegradable cornstarch bag then rolling it up (like 'fish and chips') and place it carefully in the tube.
Buy a poo pot
"Basic poo pots are available from some DOC visitor centres," it says.
"Each pot comes with cornstarch bag liners, hand sanitizer and instructions for use. Lids can sometimes come off so you may want to carry it inside plastic bags in case this happens."
Dig a poo hole
"Dig a shallow hole for human waste; but not just any hole, anywhere. Choose an appropriate place to dig the hole," DOC advises.
Hide your hole. Keep human waste well away from waterways. Dig shallow holes at least 50m from water, tracks and campsites. Select a site where other people are not likely to walk or camp, such as next to thick undergrowth or near fallen timber.
Dig a sunny hole. If possible, dig your hole where it will receive plenty of sunlight as the heat helps decomposition.
Disguise your hole. After depositing your solid human waste, don't forget to cover it with leaf litter or other natural materials.
Share your hole with friends. If camping with a large group, agree on a single toilet place and dig a hole deep enough for the group for the length of your stay.
If you have to use paper, use only plain, unbleached, non-perfumed types.
Use toilet paper sparingly.
Do not burn toilet paper, as this can result in wildfires. Bury paper in your shallow hole or carry it out with you in a plastic bag.
Try using natural materials such as bark or leaf vegetation (non-prickly!) or snow instead. Natural 'toilet paper' is as sanitary as processed toilet paper and blends back easily into the environment.