Politics

Tourists Are Quite Literally Shitting On Requests Not To Climb Uluru

Tourists are rushing to climb Uluru before the climb closes in October, ignoring the wishes of the Anangu traditional owners.

uluru

On October 26, the Uluru climb will finally be closed, in accordance with the wishes of the area’s Anangu traditional owners. Unfortunately, it turns out that non-Indigenous Australians have taken that as permission to go ahead and climb the sacred site while it’s still open, and they’re wreaking potentially irreparable damage.

This really should be a pretty straightforward situation: the Anangu traditional owners have been urging tourists to show respect for the site and refrain from climbing it for years, and signs and guides at Uluru continue to explain why climbing is disrespectful. And yet this week, the Uluru climb has looked a lot like a lot like Mount Everest: dangerously, destructively congested.

It takes a pretty incredible level of disrespect to still be climbing Uluru in 2019, but here we are. On top of the total disregard these climbers have shown for the wishes of the Anangu people, the sudden surge in climbers is also leading to tourists trespassing, dumping rubbish, and damaging the environment around the site.

Tourists have reportedly been camping illegally, trespassing on private land to do so, and even dumping blackwater (i.e. shit) from caravans on random stretches of land. Often, the land they are dumping rubbish on is actually privately owned land, national parks or Aboriginal land.

Stephen Schwer, chief executive of Tourism Central Australia, told The Age that tourists have also been dumping waste, of every kind, on top of Uluru — which, once again, is a sacred site.

“I’m not going to spell it out but there are no toilets on top of the rock, there are no toilets on the climb,” he said, noting that there has been an impact on plant and animal species at the base of the rock.

So well done, Australia: we’ve been asked, politely and repeatedly, not to climb a sacred site. We’ve responded by quite literally shitting all over it. October can’t come soon enough.