Because waste elimination is perceived as somewhat undignified, we sometimes choose to ignore the idea that culturally or historically important areas could actually harbor ... poop. And lots of it. These five notable locations happen to be contaminated by plenty of misplaced fecal matter.
1. Mount Everest
With an average of 700 climbers every season and exactly zero janitors, the world’s most formidable mountain has been stockpiling number twos for decades: By one estimate, more than 26,000 pounds of it is deposited every year. The problem has become so acute that in March 2015, Nepal announced Everest was practically a biohazard and reminded visitors to carry all of their trash back down with them. While considerate, this will not address the existing threat: In a terrifying prediction, one geologist told Think Progress that climate change could mean all the poo buried in melting snow might one day resurface.
2. The Streets of San Francisco
The undulating, roller-coaster layout of San Francisco’s streets has made them possibly the country’s most famous urban roadway. So why poop on it? The city is home to over 7000 homeless people who have only limited access to bathroom facilities, meaning their bowel movements are often left in the street. There were nearly 1000 "reports of human excrement" in June 2014 alone, according to the city. One resident even created a poop map, which allows people to type in an address and assess their chances of stepping in it.
3. The Landgate Arch
Rye, East Sussex, England is home to a magnificent medieval structure dating back to the 14th century: the roofless Landgate Arch, built in the time of King Edward III. When district representatives checked in on it in early 2015, they found they could barely budge the doors. That’s because 25 tons of pigeon poop had accumulated thanks to the open-air design. An environmental clean-up crew was dispatched to vacuum the waste out, with lead scrubber Mike Walker offering a sober assessment: "It was like walking on a giant chocolate cake."
4. The National Mall
Washington, D.C.'s reflective pool attracts a number of tourists, both human and fowl—but it’s the latter that has ridiculously poor public manners. Canada geese frequent the Mall, each one leaving up to two or three pounds of poop on the grounds every day and turning what should be a casual stroll into a fecal landmine. Park services have recently taken to walking border collies on the premises, which corral the geese into other, poop-friendly areas.
5. The Playboy Mansion
In a 2006 tell-all titled Bunny Tales, former Hefner Girlfriend Izabella St. James claimed life inside the fabled Playboy Mansion had a distinct odor. With a number of dogs roaming the halls, she alleged it was not uncommon to step in their waste or witness Hugh Hefner scrambling to retrieve poos from dogs that weren’t yet housebroken. When a stained bedroom carpet was replaced, St. James bemoaned that it was a patterned dark blue, making it even harder to spot the piles. Hefner would later issue a denial of some of her claims while confirming others. He did not address whether houseguests have to check the bottom of their shoes.