Waste abandoned in nature are a real plague for the environment: pollution of water and soil, direct impact on wildlife and negative visual impact on tourism.
This issue is particularly visible when the snow melts. It was this observation that led Laurent Thurnheer to set up the foundation in 2001. Reducing the consequences of human activity in the mountains must be a priority in an Alpine country like ours.
There are numerous waste collection operations in Switzerland. Summit Foundation seeks to bring together the actions taking place in the mountains as part of the Clean-Up Tour.
Target 2020: 30 Clean-Up operations over 6 months (April-September), with an average of 40 participants per event. These 1’200 people contribute annually to the collection of almost 10 tons of abandoned waste in the mountains. Since its creation in 2001, Summit Foundation has contributed to the removal of more than 150 tons of waste through mountain collection operations.
Participating in the Clean-Up Tour as a volunteer means actively participating in the preservation of the environment by enjoying a walk in the wilderness. Whether with family or friends, it is also a meaningful outdoor activity, while enjoying the tranquility and beauty of our landscapes.
The problem addressed by the Clean-Up Tour
Microplastics are everywhere. According to a recent study, a human being ingests on average more than 5g of micro-plastics per week, the equivalent of a credit card (1)!
Beyond the transport of waste (macro-waste, micro-waste and nano-waste) by water, micro-plastics are also transported by wind. Early scientific work has shown their presence in totally uninhabited mountain regions, in mountain lakes above 1500m (2).
Switzerland is the water tower of Europe. t our waters are as polluted as those of the Mediterranean Sea (3). It is urgent to act against plastic pollution, also in our mountains and waters.
(1) Kieran D. Cox, Garth A. Covernton, Hailey L. Davies, John F. Dower, Francis Juanes, and Sarah E. Dudas. Environmental Science & Technology 2019 53 (12), 7068-7074. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b01517
(2) Allen, S., Allen, D., Phoenix, V.R. et al. Atmospheric transport and deposition of microplastics in a remote mountain catchment. Nat. Geosci. 12, 339–344 (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41561-019-0335-5
(3) Océaneye. (14.07.2019). La pollution plastique du lac Léman identique à celle des océans. Retrieved on:https://www.oceaneye.ch/14-07-2019/