“Keep Baltoro Clean” Expedition collects eight tons of waste from Karakorum with the help from Italian High Commission
Churning out phenomenal results, the “Keep Baltoro Clean” organized by the EvK2cnr Committee and Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP), the expedition was able to collect no less than 8000kgs of waste left over by this year’s climbing expeditions.
Emphasizing on a “Clean Baltoro”, this year, the Committee concentrated their efforts on one of the largest glaciers on earth, piling up 240 bags of 25kg each, amounting to almost 8 Metric Tons of waste this year alone.
Most of the waste was collected from Concordia to Ashkole. The trekking and climbing expeditions enroute to Concordia, camp at about five designated spots on the trek, leaving piles of garbage and human waste. The climbing expeditions, which camp for months in the rugged region, transport huge loads of supplies to sustain their stay in the extreme cold weather.
The first results of the expedition were presented few days ago in a ceremony attended by the ACP officials, Chairman EvK2cnr Committee Agostino Da Polenza, technical manager of the Karakorum Trust and His Excellency, the Italian Ambassador Vincenzo Prati.
"We have collected about 8 tons of waste” - says Maurizio Gallo, Karakorum Trust technical manager. “Six of these have already been brought to the “eco-island” we created near the Ashkole village. Two tons of waste has already been burned by Earth, the ecological incinerator we have built and installed there with the support of the Italian company Actelios (Falck Group). Since now, the incinerator has worked well for 4 hours per day".
The garbage collected comprised of empty cans, fuel stoves, wind-torn tents, left over toilet tents, pieces of backpacks, broken climbing equipment, clothes, shoes and other rubbish.
The cleaning of the glacier is coordinated by a Pakistani team of ecological workers that trains the porters of the expeditions visiting the area and gives information to the people. This team has headquarters at the Concordia Circus, 4700 meters.
Ambassador Prati lauded the efforts of the Karakorum Trust which has delivered exceptional service to the region, providing the much-needed ecological balance altered by the climbing and trekking expeditions from all over the world.
The Ambassador also disclosed the curtain-raising of yet another project SEED (Social, Economic and Environmental Development in the Cknp and buffer zones - Northern Areas, Pakistan). This project, promoted by EvK2Cnr in collaboration with the Karakorum International University, was born as a result of the "debt conversion agreement" just signed by Italy and Pakistan, which allocates funds for development initiatives and against poverty.
"Our six ecological operators are working very well” – Gallo added. “They are carrying out an effective information campaign to the cooks and the porters of the expeditions, teaching them how to collect waste for recycling and how to bring them to Askole. Earth can burn plastic and non-recyclable materials in Pakistan. The other waste, such cans, glass and toxic materials or batteries, are brought to Skardu”.
The project until today has gathered a colossal 40 tons of waste, have installed total of 11 toilets in the area, imparted training to 75 High Altitude Porters and specialized rescue training to 200 trekking guides.