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Not a moment to waste for mountains

As the human footprint on mountains continues to grow worldwide, so does the amount of waste - affecting the health of mountain communities and ecosystems, tarnishing stunning landscapes, and endangering clean supplies of water for large, downstream populations.


The ‘Wast(ing) Mountains’ side event was organized by UN Environment and partners at this year's World Mountain Forum in Mbale, Uganda on 19 October 2016.


The event shed light on the increasing misuse of our world's mountains as a dump site. It is estimated that 140,000 kg of waste lies on Mt Everest for example, following 60 years of expeditions. Meanwhile, half of plastic accumulated in Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal - the mountain’s surrounding region - is believed to be burnt in open air and only a small amount reused.


During the Mountain Forum event, key preliminary findings were presented from UN Environment’s flagship Mountain Waste Management Outlook. The report identifies the challenges involved in waste management for mountain regions, and identifies solutions to guide policy makers and the international mountain community in converting waste into a resource for growth, employment and sustainable development.


During the side event, a discussion took place on waste production in mountain regions, such as that resulting from tourism, mining and climate change. Mountain stakeholders from around the globe took part in the forum to exchange ideas, promote collaborative action and foster political dialogue among different levels of society towards sustainable mountain development.


The Mountain Waste Management Outlook is a joint effort of the UN Environment, its International Environmental Technology Centre, GRID – Arendal and the International Solid Waste Association.


The publication aims to raise awareness on the need for a holistic and integrated waste management approach for mountain regions and ecosystems. Final touches are now being applied to the Outlook, which will be launched on International Mountain Day, 12 December 2016.


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