GRID-Arendal, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, the MRI, international mountain sports and guiding federations, and other partners, is launching the 2021 Mountain Waste Survey. This is the first-ever global survey of the public on waste in mountain areas. 

More than 1.1 billion people live in mountain regions, and millions more visit mountains every day. Most of us who spend time in mountain areas have seen litter problems first-hand, but there has been little formal information gathering or study of the issue. 

The 2021 Mountain Waste Survey is designed to help plug this crucial knowledge gap by gathering information about waste from mountain residents and visitors around the world. The survey is in response to the many recommendations made in an earlier report published in 2016 by GRID-Arendal and partners, titled Waste Management Outlook for Mountain Regions: Sources and Solutions.

We invite people from all walks of life to complete this survey, including the general public, mountain sports enthusiasts, scientists and researchers, NGO staff, government officials, and those working in the tourism, outdoor recreation, agriculture, and forestry sectors. The survey is available in EnglishFrench, GermanRussian, and Spanish, and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.  

By sharing your experiences, observations, and opinions, you can help us keep mountain environments as we like them – clean. The survey has been designed to generate new knowledge about types and volumes of waste, sources and drivers of waste, and solutions that have been implemented or could be tried. We will use the information gathered to advocate to policymakers and governing bodies for better waste management and clean-up, as well as help guide opportunities for research that responds to key information needs. 

Important actors in the international mountain community have come together to increase knowledge about waste in mountains and address this growing problem, and the 2021 Mountain Waste Survey grew out of this partnership. The survey was designed by GRID-Arendal, in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA), the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA), the Kilian Jornet Foundation, the Union of International Mountain Leader Associations (UIMLA), and the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS).

The survey will remain open until the end of April 2021. The results will be summarized in a short report, which will be sent to all interested survey participants, and will also feed into a larger report on waste in remote and mountainous areas being prepared by GRID-Arendal for the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. 

Click here to take the survey   


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The MRI Coordination Office invites the MRI community to sign up for, or update their profiles in, the new and improved MRI Expert Database, mentioning experience or research related to mountain protection and/or sustainable development in mountains in the context of mountain tourism and outdoor sports and recreation. This helps us identify and include MRI community members with relevant expertise in a number of activities with our partners at UN Environment/GRID-Arendal and the UIAA on the subject.

 Cover image by Julita.


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