Complaints about Iceland’s tourism industry being poorly organised are hardly new at this point, but this July was particularly shitty. Some tourists at Þingvellir couldn’t find any outdoor toilets, and resorted to pooing close to the graves of famed poets Einar Benediktsson and Hallgrímur Pétursson. And then another tourist attempted to clean up after doing his business outside, only to accidentally set the surrounding moss on fire, prompting the fire department and police to intervene.
Unsurprisingly, the government was quick to respond, with the Minister of the Environment lambasting the tourists, saying that their actions stemmed from “disrespect” towards Iceland and its heritage, rather than a dire lack of facilities and infrastructure.
Another tourism-hungry hotspot also made headlines, as a spokesperson for the Blue Lagoon said that the reported “problem” of people having sex in the lagoon is vanishing. He insisted that as far as he knew, it hadn’t happened in years, and that the staff are specifically on the look out for lewd activities.
Although Iceland seems to be struggling to address growing pains from increased tourism, the city is at least making a token effort. Responding to the cluster-fuck caused by tour buses driving through narrow 101 lanes, the Reykjavík City Council has banned all vehicles longer than eight metres from driving through downtown streets.
In other news, the nurse’s wage dispute continues. Last month, Parliament passed legislation banning nurses from striking, which in turn led to mass resignations. A recently proposed government offer was rejected by the nurses, who instead want another round of talks with the State Negotiator. Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson has, however, suggested that there is nothing more to discuss. Meanwhile, Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson has said he’s currently looking into hiring foreign nurses to keep the hospital operational.
The police commissioner in the Westman Islands, Páley Borgþórsdóttir, just gave us another reason to rest easy. In anticipation of the annual Þjóðhátíð festival in the Westman Islands, Páley sent a letter to relevant response parties, telling them not to talk to the media about reported sexual assaults. We’re waiting for a similar order banning scientists from talking about global warming, so that the problem will go away and we can get back to burning fossil fuel with reckless abandon.
Speaking of animals, the Icelandic Seal Centre reports that the super sweet mammal’s numbers are on the decline, for unexplained reasons. Ecologist Sandra Granquist has called for a more extensive and detailed survey next year, which she considers “very necessary.”
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