Mountain Clean-up Tour in Italy

Summit Foundation aims to reduce the environmental impact of human activity in high traffic locations by proposing concrete solutions and awareness-raising methods, both to public bodies and to companies.

Mountains are exceptional. People from all over the world come to interact with this natural environment, whether for skiing, mountain-biking, hiking or simply discovering its exceptional panoramas. Where there is human activity, there is littering which endangers species and habitats, as well as humans, indirectly. Plastic, for example, breaks into smaller and smaller pieces within decades and can eventually enter the food chain. Through lakes, streams and rivers, the mountains are also directly connected to the oceans. The project will organise 7 clean-up operations in mountainous regions of northern Italy between April 2021 and September 2022. In addition, each event will seek to engage with and educate volunteers taking part, as well as others in the area, about the impact of litter on wildlife and habitats. An on-going campaign will be run on social media and via media interviews.

The Update

The Summit Foundation launched its Clean-Up Tours in Italy in 2021, thanks to the funding received from The North Face Explore Fund via EOCA.  In September 2021, 3 Clean-Up tours were organised and then in 2022, 10 actions took place during the summer and autumn.

During 2021, The North Face Italy enabled The Summit Foundation to benefit from some visibility in some of the most important newspapers in Italy. Their reach for their work in Italy and Switzerland was over 2.5million during the year. Clean Up Tours were organised in Bolzano, Cornon del Renon and Courmayeur – major destinations in Italy-with co-organisers such as tourist offices, lift companies and local companies.  In total 45 participants cleaned 140kg of waste. The numbers were less than hoped, partly due to covid restrictions, partly due to these being new locations for Summit Foundation – it was hoped that the contacts made would enable them to deliver more in 2022.

In total, the 2022 tours in Italy collected 987kg of waste, bringing together 352 participants in 10 locations.  The events were co-organised with tourist offices, lift companies, park entities, service centres and municipalities in: Barmasc, Val d’Ayas; Pila; MonterosaSki,Val d’ Ayas; Sestriere; Corno del Renon; Valle Pesio; Breuil-Cervinia; Courmayeur; Gressoney-Saint-Jean; and Catinaccio. Summit Foundation were able to attract additional funding to enable 3 of these locations to be added to their schedule.

Summit Foundation expected an average of 3.5kg of waste to be collected per person, but it was 2.8kg – probably due to lighter waste (cigarette butts, tissues etc) being collected by school children participating who focussed on cleaning fields, parks and easy trails rather than forests and streams and ski slopes where they usually find more substantial waste.

In total, communications related to the clean up tours of 2022 reached more than 2.6 million people via social networks and other media

Going forward, Summit Foundation intend to organise at least a further 10 clean up stages in 2023, with an average of 40 participants collecting 1.5 tonnes of waste in total. The contacts made in 2022 should help with making this a reality.

Image: Hasliberg clean-up