A summer clean for the Alps

Litter dropped by skiers in the Alps is an eyesore once the snow melts. Now, hundreds of volunteers are clearing tons of rubbish from mountain trails

On a summer hike in certain alpine ski resorts, it’s a sad fact that you’re more likely to spot cigarette butts and discarded drink cans than marmots and ibex. And the evolving nature of that rubbish – discarded by skiers and uncovered when the snow melts in summer – brings new problems for those attempting to clean it up.

“Cans of Red Bull are found fairly often now, whereas they used to be rare,” says Olivier Kressmann, project manager for Summit Foundation, a non-profit organisation promoting environmental awareness in Switzerland. “And these days, paper tissues are more and more resistant, so the life-span of tissues on the pistes is increasing. That’s a new problem over the past two or three years.”

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