Iran Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation (IMSCF): Waste management, educating mountaineers and cultural affairs in Damavand
Iran Mountaineering & Sport Climbing Federation (IMSCF): Waste management, educating mountaineers and cultural affairs in Damavand
Project Status: September 2016
IMSCF Goals and Objectives
Educating mountaineers about the importance of attention to mountain environment issues such as introducing the unique fauna and flora of Damavand, encouraging mountaineers to carry their personal garbage downstream, human interaction, distributing related leaflets and personal garbage bags.
In parallel, organizing teams formed of expert volunteers during the summer of 2016 to manage waste (collection, separation, packaging and carrying wet & solid garbage to downstream / urban area).
Within one year, a huge change
Each year the Damavand range welcomes more than 15,000 tourists including mountaineers during the high season (summer) who produce tonnes of wastes in elevations higher than 4,200 meters. In previous years because garbage removal from high altitude is very difficult, the waste was burnt and this issue caused increased air, soil and water pollution.
This has changed thanks to the work of our pilot project, one we now wish to develop on a more frequent, permanent basis. According to the statistics collected in the summer of 2016, more than 7,000 kilograms of waste was collected, separated, packed and carried to downstream and was delivered to urban area waste management systems. In addition, thousands of kilograms of garbage, was carried to urban areas by the mountaineers themselves. Waste was no longer burnt and the slopes left as they were found.
Furthermore, we educated the tourists, students groups, families and locals who come to Damavand foothills to encourage them not to cut the special anemone flowers in anemone plains of Damavand and simply enjoy the beauty of the landscape and take nothing but pictures.
Collaboration with local communities
Collaborating by using local manpower to handle waste management and pay them a wage, is one way to profit locals from money resources.
Another beneficial aspect of this project for locals is the use of their transportation facilities (such as trucks and donkeys for carrying garbage packs). Locals also worked as a guide to tourists visiting the foothills, acting as mountain protection ambassadors.
In their guide services, they promoted traditional products and sold these to tourists. This also provides welcome extra income for local families in the Damavand area.
BEYOND BUSINESS AS USUAL
There is currently no other organised waste management collection in the area. There are some mountaineering clubs and groups that run small a cleaning project within their mountaineering programmes. These little initiatives are effective in their own right, but not enough to make a lasting impact in developing the culture of those who visit the areas. Our project is a successful pilot platform that could develop further in raising mountain protection awareness issues amongst mountaineers through in-land education and diffusion of a weekly performance report of volunteers from Damavand’s height environment situations and their activities.
The project is organised through a dedicated mountain protection committee in the Damavand area with the participation of Mr. Reza Zarei, the I.R Iran Sport Climbing and Mountaineering federation – MSFI, Mr. Amin Moein (Manager of Mountain Protection Committee of MSFI), Mr. Ali Mohammad Sarikhani (Manager of Mountain Refuges & Facilities Committee of MSFI) and Mr. Mohammad Eajazi (Secretary of MPC of MSFI) was convened in I.R. Iran Mountaineering & Sport Climbing Federation to organize the volunteers who were willing to participate in this project.
In this pilot project 22 official volunteers were dispersed in three organised along the Damavand ascent route and spent three days in camp 3 (4,250m) handling waste management and mountaineer education. All volunteers was trained in the MSFI mountain protection course by experts in mountain environment issues. A leaflet about leaving no trace in mountainous area and especially about Damavand was published, carried to camp 3 and distributed in meetings.
Volunteer work was significant and impressive. Each team reported their activities details, photos and documentation in a weekly manner to the MSFI their work was published on the MSFI website and social media.
For the summer 2017 we decided to organize special provincial committees for mountain protection to perform similar projects in mountain areas of each of Iran’s provinces.