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A new report looks at the growing issue of waste in the world’s mountain regions. Launched by GRID-Arendal, the International Solid Waste Management Association and the United Nations Environment Programme on 11 December, International Mountain Day, “Waste management Outlook for Mountain Regions - Sources and solutions” highlights both the challenges and the solutions for sound waste management in mountain regions.
Mountains play an essential role in supplying water, energy, food and other services to millions of people living in the mountains and downstream. Ensuring the continued supply of these services has never been more important. However, many mountain regions are experiencing a growing solid waste problem, from ever-expanding urban sprawls and cities, increasing consumption patterns, existing and past mining operations, tourism activities and practices of illegal dumping. Steepness, remoteness, prevailing socio-economic conditions and vulnerability to natural hazards make waste management in mountains more challenging than in lowland areas. Gravity and river flow can also enlarge the footprint of mountain waste to a thousand kilometres or more downstream, and even right into the ocean.
Inadequate treatment or disposal of waste in mountains not only creates risks for ecosystems and human health in mountain regions but also for downstream areas. It is an issue of global concern. This report reviews the options available to prevent and manage waste in mountain environments, in ways that protect mountain ecosystems and people and prevent problems from migrating downstream.
Also make sure you don't miss editor Björn Alfthan's corresponding blog post on the MRI Mountain Blogs!