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Lack of Funding Clogs Toilet Plans

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Lack of Funding Clogs Toilet Plans

Photo: Dagmar Trodler

Funding has not yet been guaranteed for installing temporary restroom facilities at various stops along the Ring Road in Iceland, RÚV reports. The Icelandic Road Authority has been planning to install toilets, similar to those used at outdoor festivals. A new report from the engineering firm Efla confirms there is an urgent need for such facilities.

Last year, there were frequent news reports of tourists relieving themselves under the blue sky, leaving behind unwanted evidence. The reason for such incidences is a dire lack of restroom facilities. Efla’s report points out a particularly pressing need for additional toilets at nine popular locations, including Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and Seljalandsfoss waterfall.

The Icelandic Road Authority would like to set up temporary rest areas with toilet facilities as well as an area where people can take out their lunch bag and enjoy the view.

Hreinn Haraldsson, director of the Road Authority, believes such facilities are needed at between 50 and 60 locations. “We haven’t received any response regarding whether there is interest or whether funding will be allocated toward such a project,” he stated. Minister of Industry and Commerce Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, whose ministry is in charge of tourism, believes better use could be made of existing restroom facilities along the Ring Road instead of installing temporary ones.

Ragnheiður told RÚV, “We can receive four million tourists better than one and a half [million] if we’re properly organized. And this is what our job is about, to do things in a way that we’re not constantly reacting, but instead taking advantage of community halls, schools and other [buildings], often closed in summer. Part of this is to look at where we have such facilities, which then could be opened during the busiest season, and in cooperation with the tourism industry, we could direct people there.”

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