Human excrements, plastic bags and remains of food found on Huascarán

T he team consisted of eight specialists from the National Research Institute of Glaciers and Mountain Ecosystems (INAIGEM) which between August 6 and 12 earlier this year completed a scientific expedition to Mount Huascarán, did not only find the presence of carbon black pollution, macro and microorganisms but also sources of anthropogenic pollution.

What they found are worrying signs of the impact of climate change on Huascarán, and highlights the urgency with which an action plan is needed to save the glacier. Mount Huascarán is an attractive mountain for mountaineers during the months of June to August, a period in which climbers from all over the world attempt to conquer its two summits. However, along the route and especially in the glacier area before Camp 1, the presence of solid waste composed of plastic and wrappings, food remains and human excrement was evident.

The INAIGEM announced in their Nota Técnica 01 – Expedición Científica Huascarán to coordinate with El Servicio Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas por el Estado – SERNANP to undertake actions to control mountaineering activities in order to avoid or minimise the negative impacts of littering at high altitude. Regarding to the presence of black carbon pollution, which was highest in Camp 2 (6,000m) and at the glacier area (Frente Glaciar, 4,998m), INAIGEM recommends carrying out a mechanical revision campaign for the total vehicle fleet, since cars that still use diesel are the main source of black carbon pollution. In addition, they will attempt to model the spreading of atmospheric pollutants in the department of Ancash with the objective to analyse the influence of the winds on the transportation of black carbon towards the glaciers and mountains.

Author: Glenn Fezvi
Sources: Nota Técnica 01 – Expedición Científica Huascarán – INAIGEM-2017
Photo: INAIGEM

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