Plastic Waste in Remote and Mountainous Areas

Remote and mountainous areas are among the areas that are the most affected by plastic waste. Yet, while much attention in recent years has focused on the impacts of plastic waste on the world’s oceans, pollution in mountain regions has rarely made the headlines.

Plastic is the most common type of waste found in remote and mountainous areas. The rapid increase of plastic waste in these regions is driven, to a large extent, by tourism. Adding to the burden, microplastics which travel long distances and often end up in remote and mountainous areas from the Arctic to the Alps, the Rockies and Mount Everest.

Meanwhile, remote and mountainous areas, especially in developing countries, face unique challenges in minimizing and managing plastic waste, such:

  • remoteness;
  • difficult natural and climate conditions;
  • absence of economies of scale
  • limited financial and human resources; and
  • lack of infrastructure.

The project “Plastic Waste in Remote and Mountainous Areas” seeks to address these challenges by strengthening capacity and awareness in remote and mountainous areas. A mix of education, outreach and pilots on the ground seek to reduce the amounts of plastic waste in these areas and to ensure its environmentally sound management. Curious to learn more about this project? Download this factsheet.

Do you want to learn more about the mountain(s) of plastic waste and our plastic waste footprint in remote and mountainous areas? Do you want to find out what can be done at local, regional and global level in terms of policy, infrastructure, financing and awareness-raising to tackle plastic pollution in remote and mountainous areas? Click here to explore our new interactive storymap, developed in cooperation with Grid-Arendal. 

Explore these brochures to find out what you can do to tackle plastic waste in remote and mountainous areas: As a national park/protected area manager (below right) brochure or as a policy-maker (below left) brochure.

Plastic waste in remote and
mountainous areas
(As a park manager)
Plastic waste in remote and
mountainous areas
(As a policymaker)
Policy Brief
Keeping our mountains plastic

The project is financed by the Government of Norway, the Government of France and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. It has been launched on the occasion of the International Mountain Day on 11 December 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. The BRS Secretariat cooperates with relevant partners in the implementation of the project and related activities, such as Grid-Arendal, UNEP and the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation. The BRS Secretariat has also recently become a member of the Mountain Partnership.

The umbrella project features activities at the global and national level. It comprises the collection and dissemination of success stories, gathering of data and generation of knowledge, education and outreach, and pilot projects in selected remote and mountainous countries.

Download these posters with inspiring stories how plastic waste has been tackled across the world in remote and mountainous areas (left) and what you can do as an individual before, during and after the trip (also available as individual stickers 1, 2, 3).

To date, the following Parties to the Basel Convention have been identified as pilot countries. Preparations are ongoing to start the activities. Additional countries may be identified in the future.

  • Kazakhistan
  • Lesotho
  • Nepal
  • North Macedonia
  • Peru
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Tajikistan
  • Uzbekistan 

Video: Plastic Waste on the Peak