What comes in – must go out

In many areas of natural beauty, such as the Arctic Circle and the Himalayas, waste is a serious issue, where detritus threatens to ruin a once pristine environment. How do we ensure that the increase in tourism does not lead to an increase in waste and associated problems; how do we create a win-win environment for the local communities and tourists alike?

Basecamp Mount Everest, Nepal, Himalaya.

Thousands of mountain climbers who have attempted the Everest ascent have left their spores in a hitherto untouched and magical landscape. Piles of detritus left behind at base camp, discarded oxygen tanks, and volumes of non-biodegradable junk, swirl for all to see. The local population benefited initially from the influx tourism, now have to manage the significant downside.

Kuummiut, Greenland, 2017

Due to globalization and modern technology, every corner of the globe is within reach. The need to escape the ‘always on’ society is leading to a further push to explore the earth’s hidden treasures. Often this exploration comes at a cost and does not consider the needs of the local habitat; something that is unacceptable in modern times. Leaving ‘zero footprint’ should be an objective of any trip to a remote area, especially in the arctic circle where the impact of global warming is felt so clearly. How are we going to achieve this? The relationship between humans and the environment needs a radical rethink and the symbiosis between the two needs to be discovered again.


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