Once again this year, eco-volunteer groups from the different mountain ranges across France got together and mobilised 2,480 volunteers, who gave of their time and energy to turn their beliefs into concrete actions.
Clean-up days were organised in 52 resorts, and resulted in 17 tonnes of rubbish being picked up, which although less than lasting 2007 is still a substantial amount.
The aim of these days is obviously to clean-up the ski slopes, but the annual clean-up days are also a great occasion to raise the awareness of both individuals and professionals as to the amount of rubbish left discarded on the slopes after the ski season has ended, and the general state of our mountains.
It’s also a good time to talk about simple acts of green, to empower the different stakeholders with a sense of responsibility for the state of our mountains, and to generally help people to realise that rubbish needs to be reduced at its source through a change in our habits and behaviours.
The rubbish collected can be divided into different categories :
48% recyclable / 52% non recyclable
57% tourist and holiday makers’ rubbish / 43% rubbish from mountain professionals
The obvious and permanent N°1 offender was cigarette ends. These were particularly noted for their quantity and presence in places where water runs into streams, giving you a good idea of the where these cigarette ends will end up next:
Watch the video: Eat your cigarette end!
On the rubbish pick-up menu we also have cans, individual wrappers and other plastics; but in addition, we discovered a few examples of ‘fly tipping’, dating back to the time (not so long ago) when rubbish and other bulky items ended up in our rivers or in hidden in the depths of the forest.
Consequently in a number of places batteries, metal and chemical products are still polluting our ground water, soil, animals and plants.
This year the ‘black spots’ were considerable both in quantity and volume. Most notably, in regional and national parks which are by definition ‘closed-off’ and protected areas!
Finally, to answer the question ‘have you seen any improvement?’, the answer is ‘yes’, but in places where the various eco-volunteer groups have been active for several years raising public awareness and cleaning up after every winter. However, the discovery of these ‘Black spots’ puts a sour note on what otherwise would be a generally very positive campaign.
Happily all the people we met, the BBQs, sound system parties, concerts, hikes and other mountain bike sessions left us with a good vibe for the summer.
Lets get together and make 2009 better!!!