Have you ever wondered what sorts of things people are prepared to ditch on their walks out in the wild? Apart from the usual sweet and crisp wrappers, I mean? Well the proof was in the pudding – or rather, in the large number of biodegradable bin bags – filled at the last ‘Envirotrek’ of a series run across Europe over the summer by Dutch non profit organisation and 2012 EOCA grant recipient, Respect the Mountains.
On an unusually dry and sunny day in August and armed with gloves, litter ‘grabbers’ and large bags, over 50 volunteers assembled at Bamford’s playing fields in the Peak District, UK to await instructions. Envirotreks are organised each year across Europe and involve spending a morning cleaning up litter from popular mountainous areas, followed by an afternoon of organised fun in the outdoors, with activities such as caving, mountain biking, climbing and rafting. The aim is that everyone will go home a little bit wiser about looking after their environment.
The Peak District was the first time an Envirotrek had made it to the UK's temperate shores, and it was thanks in part to the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), which is made up of over 80 companies based in the outdoor industry that put money directly into nature conservation projects – outdoor business ‘giving back’ to the great outdoors, if you will.