California Government Steps in Poop at Burning Man

In this Aug. 31, 2013, file photo, the "Man" burns on the Black Rock Desert at Burning Man near Gerlach, Nev. Burning Man founder Larry Harvey remains hospitalized in critical condition after suffering a stroke. The Burning Man organization on Monday, April 9, 2018, said Harvey suffered a massive stroke …
Andy Barron/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP

California’s Bureau of Land Management is trying to make it a little safer to breathe downwind of the 32-year-old music festival.

In a recent report, authorities proposed a new plan for those who seem to have a hard time finding their way to the public toilets: bags. Specifically, bags for attendee feces, and bottles for their urine. The problem is especially dire in the “deep playa” area of Burning Man, furthest from the center of the festival—and the facilities.

Alongside these portable waste-catchers—distributed by festival staff, or brought by the visitors themselves—the bureau has suggested that mobile raves be held a little closer to the port-a-potties. They have also advised that encouraging signs be posted, reminding people that there are designated places for them to squat.

More than 70,000 people attended the celebration of art and counterculture in 2015, and the festival continues to grow. This year’s theme is “I, Robot,” apparently inspired by the annoyance of automated telemarketing. But if this problem is not properly resolved, they might have to burn a giant statue made of something else next year to keep the grounds clean.

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