UPDATE: In case you didn’t notice the publish date for this post, it was indeed an April Fool’s prank. There WILL NOT be waste collection at Burning Man. Burning Man is the largest Leave No Trace event in the world, thanks to each and every citizen of Black Rock City packing out everything they pack in. And this tall order is truly an art form. Learn more.
Despite the Burning Man Project’s ongoing negotiations with the Nevada Board of Health (NBH), the NBH has recently decided to expand and enforce the Nevada Solid Waste Disposal Law (Nevada Administrative Code 444.5486) as it pertains to standards of operations for temporary mass gatherings such as Burning Man. As a result, it’s become necessary for the Burning Man Project to institute solid waste pick-up and curbside recycling throughout Black Rock City, starting in 2010.
Chapter 444 of the Nevada State Environmental Statutes, Regulations, and Orders, pertaining to sanitation, reads as follows:
NAC 444.5486 Removal of solid waste. (NRS 439.200)
1. The operator of a temporary mass gathering shall remove all solid waste from the site of the gathering within a reasonable time after the end of the gathering.
2. If, during the operation of a temporary mass gathering, the health authority determines that an accumulation of solid waste is a nuisance:
(a) The health authority shall notify the operator of the gathering; and
(b) The operator shall, within a reasonable time after being notified, abate the nuisance.
3. As used in this section, “nuisance” has the meaning ascribed to it in NAC 444.594.
(Added to NAC by Bd. of Health by R071-03, eff. 10-22-2003)
NAC 444.594 “Nuisance” defined. (NRS 444.560)
“Nuisance” means anything which is injurious to health, offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, and thus interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property.
[Environmental Comm'n, Solid Waste Mgt Reg. S 1.12, eff. 9-21-77]
In its recent decision, the NBH has chosen to consider Black Rock City’s growing waste disposal situation a “nuisance” as defined in NAC 444.594. Thus the Burning Man Project has been forced to reallocate a significant portion of its annual event budget originally earmarked for art grants to create and manage a fleet of BRC MOOP Collection Mutant Vehicles (MCMVs) that will make daily rounds to collect garbage throughout Black Rock City, starting at 6am each day of the event. These MCMVs will of course be designed with a creative whimsicality befitting Burning Man.
Burning Man’s Department of Public Works will administrate the garbage collection process. The citizens of BRC should place their zip-tie sealed bags of garbage at the street-side edge of their camps each morning for pick-up (and including a 6-pack or two of Pabst Blue Ribbon would be appreciated by this hard-working DPW crew). To comply with the recycling requirement, participants should also separate and bag their aluminum, plastics and paper, and place these bags at the curbside for morning pick-up.
The Burning Man Project regrets this decision by the NBH, but we’re confident that our populace will rise to the occasion as it always does, and show what true Burners are capable of.