New policy brief sets the tone for tackling plastic pollution during the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development.

Mountain areas host both sprawling cities and rural settlements, providing a home for about 15 percent of the global population. Linked to global supply chains and as a consequence of population growth, overconsumption, and tourism, the generation of waste – especially plastic waste – is surging across mountains. This endangers freshwater resources and biodiversity and in turn, poses serious risks for downstream regions.
A new policy brief highlights the key problems of pollution in mountains. Key strategies to tackle the issue, at the individual, local, national, regional and global levels are included. The brief was developed by GRID-Arendal, UNEP, the Mountain Research Initiative, (MRI), UIAA and the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm (BRS) Secretariat and is the first of several planned under the 2022 International Year for Sustainable Mountain Development.
It was released during a dedicated side event at the 6th Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership late last week in Aspen, Colorado. The Global Meeting gathered governments, NGOs and civil society, private sector and international organisations to promote mountains and their sustainable development. A key outcome document of that meeting, the Aspen Declaration, calls on mountain governments and members of the partnership to support the ongoing efforts toward the establishment of globally binding instruments to combat plastic pollution.

Further Reading and Resources


On behalf of the MRI Coordination Office, we wish to also acknowledge and thank members of our mountain research community who participated in the original global survey that contributed to the key findings in this policy brief.

Cover image by Roberto Sorin.

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