Launching the first-ever global survey on waste in mountains: Add your voice

Featured, Membership, Mountain Protection

GRID-Arendal, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, international mountain sports and guiding federations – including the UIAA, and other partners, is launching the 2021 Mountain Waste Survey. This is the first-ever global survey of the public on waste in mountain areas.

More than 1.1 billion people live in mountain regions, and millions more visit mountains every day. Most of us who spend time in mountain areas have seen litter problems first-hand, but there has been little formal information gathering or study of the issue.

The 2021 Mountain Waste Survey is designed to help plug this crucial knowledge gap, by gathering information about waste from mountain residents and visitors around the world. The organisers invite people from all walks of life to complete this survey, including the general public, mountain sports enthusiasts, scientists and researchers, NGO staff, government officials, and those working in the agriculture and forestry sectors. The survey is available in English, French, German, Spanish, and Russian, and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

“This is an exciting joint initiative that demonstrates and supports our collaboration as stipulated in the MoU signed between the UIAA and UNEP, with GRIDA in 2019. We encourage all UIAA member associations to participate,” explained UIAA Mountain Protection Commission President Dr Carolina Adler.

By sharing your experiences, observations, and opinions, you can help keep mountain environments as we like them – clean. The survey has been designed to generate new knowledge about types and volumes of waste, sources and drivers of waste, and solutions that have been implemented or could be tried. GRIDA will use the information gathered to advocate to policy makers and governing bodies for better waste management and clean-up.

About the Survey

Important actors in the international mountain community have come together to increase knowledge about waste in mountains and address this growing problem, and the 2021 Mountain Waste Survey grew out of this partnership. The survey was designed by GRID-Arendal, in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA), the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA), the Kilian Jornet Foundation, the Union of International Mountain Leader Associations (UIMLA), and the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS).

The survey will remain open until the end of April. The results will be summarised in a short report, which will be sent to all interested survey participants, and will also feed into a larger report on waste in remote and mountainous areas being prepared by GRID-Arendal for the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

Main photo: Waste pickers at Memelakha landfill in Thimphu, by Tina Schoolmeester