People travelling around the islands this summer face a hygiene crisis caused by the permanent closure of public toilets and waste facilities in reaction to the coronavirus crisis.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, NHS Western Isles and Outer Hebrides Tourism are reminding both visitors and islanders that a number of toilets and chemical toilet disposal points facilities that would normally be available in the islands are currently closed.
Toilet facilities are only open in certain locations and at reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing and hygiene measures. The facilities run by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in the main population centres are open, but most of the facilities in more remote areas are run by volunteers, trusts, or community organisations, who have been unable to adapt to the new operating requirements to control transmission of COVID-19 infection.
Campers and caravanners with chemical toilets are advised to plan their trip so that they can safely dispose of chemical toilet waste at a suitable facility.
A Comhairle spokesperson said “We want everybody to be able to enjoy visiting the islands’ various beauty spots, however there have been increasing concerns raised about public toileting and litter.
"We are reminding people to check which facilities are open when planning their trip and make sure to ‘go’ before you go. Please carry hand sanitiser, toilet paper and bags with you in case you get caught short so you can dispose of your waste safely. ”
If people cannot make it to a proper toilet then there is advice on the Comhairle’s environmental health page at www.cne-siar.gov.uk/caravanandcampervantoilets
The official tourism information website www.visitouterhebrides.co.uk for the Outer Hebrides has an updated map of the facilities that are believed to be open. The list is available at-https://www.visitouterhebrides.co.uk/visitor-info/what-is-open-in-2020