Baltoro Clean up Expedition 2008
Over 70 kilometer long Baltoro glacier is the jewel of Karakoram situated about 120KM Northeast of Skardu is the longest glacier outside of the polar regions.During more then seven days trek on river of ice passes you can see four peaks rising above 8000 metres including K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrums and many other high and challenging peaks. The area is frequented by large number of mountaineers and trekkers each year and during the year 2008 over 95 mountaineering expeditions and about 5000 trekkers have visited the Baltoro glacier. Every year mountaineering expeditions and trekking parties accompanied by large number of local porters on the Baltoro glacier creating a large amount of pollution.
Visitors to the area are reporting increased deposits of garbage and
human body waste lying on these glacier camps, which besides seriously damaging the local ecology, are becoming a hazard to the visitors health.
Due to this urgency Alpine Club of Pakistan launch a Baltoro Clean Up Expedition 2008 to Baltoro glacier in collaboration with K2-CNR, Italy. During this cleanup operation members Alpine Club of Pakistan deployed a large numbers of local porters collected all burnable and non burnable garbage to include packing tins, cartons, polythene bags, food stuff etc and carry it out of the area for its correct disposal below Askole – the last village enrout to Baltoro glacier. From Askole the Garbage was moved on jeeps to Skardu and finally handed over to Skardu Muncipal Authority
Request to Mountaineers and Trekkers
Now the season of Mountaineering and Trekking is very near,
It is requested to all mountaineers and trekkers that leave the area clean as they find it. This should not be left until the last minute. Waste processing is encouraged right from the start. Digging latrine pits is a common practice but appropriate location needs to be allocated away from the main camping site and running streams. Paper should be burnt, while plastic, tins, metal, glass and bags should be retrieved as they do not degrade. Lack of sanitation can result in spread of dangerous diseases. Also care should be taken not to dispose any waste in crevasses and river water. Carrying lime to sprinkle in the pit can surely dampen the stench. Human body waste can take a very long time to decompose and any bio-waste if frozen can take centuries to decompose. All members are encouraged to complete the burning process till evening before their next day journey.
The practice of burning plastics is still being followed on the camp sites. This causes toxic chemicals to be emitted into the air. These toxic chemicals remain in the air and destroy the ozone layer. There is no natural known process that can effectively remove the toxic chemicals from air which remain their causing further damage. We encourage the campers that they should instruct their porters to remove the plastics instead of burning them and dispose them off properly.