Lofoten is one of Norway’s most popular tourist destinations with it’s incredible beaches and amazing hikes, but the high number of tourists have lead to some issues for the locals.
One of these issues is the fact that people are leaving their waste behind when using nature as a toilet, and Lofoten has a history of being filled with human excrement whenever you step out of the hiking trail.
There are even locals who have reported finding feces in their own backyards!
A brand new project hopes to combat this problem by offering free human poop bags, which look and acts a lot of regular dog poop bags, accompanied by signs urging tourists to not leave their waste behind in nature or close to backyards and buildings.
Lofoten’s human waste problem
A research report from 2021 concluded that Lofoten is filled with human excrement, and that it’s increasing on a yearly basis.
Human waste was found in private backyards, just a few meters away from hiking trails, and even very close to rivers.
The last one is a problem, and the local government urges people to not drink water from rivers and streams in the area due to risk of bacteria and virus from peoples waste.
Currently, people are advised to not drink water from lakes, rivers and streams in Ryten and Kvalvika in Lofoten.
This is in stark contrast to the rest of Norway where it’s generally safe to drink water from nature. The rest of Lofoten is also considered safe for now.
The Human Poop Bag project
If you find yourself in Lofotodden National Park in Lofoten this summer, you might find a dispenser for a human poop bag. These are zip-bags that are designed with feces in mind, and are apparently pretty decent to use from what people say.
The bags themselves are smell-proof, and fully locks in all bacteria, virus and containment from the waste. Once you’ve used the human poop bag, bring it with you to throw it in a trash bag.
The municipality has currently ordered a few hundred human poop bags to test it out this summer, but hopes that it could be a permanent solution to stop the human waste problem that Lofoten is facing.
Lofoten is having a lot of issues with tourism
One of the major issues with tourism in Lofoten is that the municipalities in the region aren’t that rich despite the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of tourists in the region each summer.
All Norwegian municipalities are required to offer a lot of public services in their area, but are paid by the government on a per inhabitant basis, not by how many people they actually need to offer these services to (such as tourists and students).
The Lofoten municipalities are currently losing money on the tourists, seeing as they need to spend a lot of money to keep the infrastructure in order, to get rid of waste, to keep roads in order, and more.
One of the proposed solutions to this is to implement a tourism tax in Lofoten, which could be reality within a few years. This could seriously help the region, and making it an even more attractive tourist destination.
There is already a wild camp ban in Lofoten, preventing people from pitching tents directly on the beaches as well as in other popular areas on the island archipelago. This has helped some of the issues the island group faced, but there are still a lot of problems that need to be solved if Lofoten wants to be an attractive tourist destination.
I for one would very much like to visit Lofoten without fearing to step in human waste, and I’m sure there are many people like me that hope that this project help Lofoten deal with the problem.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.