A nonprofit organization is seeking volunteers to carry wood chips to the top of Mount Fuji for use in environmentally friendly toilets that would cut down the amount of human waste left on the mountain each season.

Fujisan Club plans to set up five toilets on Mount Fuji — four at the summit and one at the fifth stage — to help minimize pollution from human excrement. The group seeks around 100 volunteers to each lug 500 grams of cedar chips for use in the toilets. The chips and micro-organisms used in the toilets will help break down the waste.

The trek will start at 9:30 a.m. July 14, starting from the fifth stage on the Yamanashi Prefecture side of the mountain.

Volunteers will stay at a mountain hut near the summit and are asked to pay for their accommodation, food and insurance at a cost of around 10,000 yen. Nearly 300,000 people climb the mountain each year, leaving an estimated 77 tons of trash, said Toyohiro Watanabe, the club’s executive officer. The five toilets should be able to process the waste of around one-fifth of the annual climbers, the group said. In addition, at the end of the climbing season around late August each year, the storage tanks of the mountain’s toilets are dumped down the mountain, Watanabe said.

The group set up two cedar-chip toilets last year on both the Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectural sides of the mountain as part of a pilot program. If the plan succeeds this year, the NPO hopes to expand the use of such toilets throughout Japan.

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