Alpine tourism and the irresponsible behavior of many winter sports enthusiasts result in quite a lot of garbage on the slopes and under the lifts. The waste then surfaces after the snow has melted away in the springtime. After every winter season the traces from wintersports get removed by the lift operators and associations to prepare the meadows for farm animals and to preserve nature. If this would not take place, literal “garbage mountains” would soon rise.
Plastic needs an average of 100 to 1000 years to completely decompose, glass almost 4000 years and chewing gum one to three years. A single cigarette butt contaminates at least 200 to 1000 liters of groundwater and decomposes after one to five years. Aluminum might even outlive human existence …
Needless to say, if you think about these facts, everyone’s garbage that gets taken into the mountains must be returned home and recycled!
Unfortunately, there are still too many “mountain friends” out there who don’t stick to this simple rule, partly because they don’t know better. It is our mission to create an awareness for this issue, especially among younger generations, and to create a new way of thinking.
That’s why the members of the Boardplay Project (www.boardplay.com), the n.asa (www.powdern.com) and Völkl Snowboards (www.voelkl-snowboards.com) have joined forces to organize a Mountain Cleaning Day together with the students of Westendorf High School.
On a route of 2.5 kilometers of hiking trails, slopes and on the grounds of the Boarders Playground Park they found serious amounts of garbage: Mainly cigarette butts, plastic, aluminum cans and glass bottles which they collected, separated and recycled.
At the end of the day the entire crew got invited for a nice BBQ on the mountain, and in an interesting quiz about correct recycling and decay times the young participants could win some awesome prizes.
A generational environmental consciousness needs to be created in “mountain athletes” through a sensitizing of this issue in our society. The Mountain Cleaning Day in Westendorf has led to a strong awareness for nature in all participants, but especially in the youngest participants.
A “thank you” goes to the organizers and all supporters of this event.
Join us next year!!!
More information about garbage in our mountains can be found on: www.mountainriders.org