Pejo 3000 in the far north of Italy’s Trentino province is expected to become the continent’s first plastic-free ski resort after a scientific study has confirmed that its nearby Forni Glacier has become polluted with microplastics from skiers ‘ clothing and equipment.
Since the Val di Sole valley ski resort opened its slopes this season, all plastic bags, bottles, plates, cutlery, straws, cups and other single-use plastic products have been banned.
Ecologists from the University of Milan and the University of Milan-Bicocca discovered that Forni (below), one of the Dolomite mountain range’s largest glaciers, contained 131 to 162 million plastic particles, a concentration similar to that found in European sea waters.
Their research speculated that the wind currents could have carried the particles from the ski resort.
“When plastics reach high altitudes, they remain unchanged for a long time, even decades, and when they return to our food chain in the form of damage to the environment and safety,” Christian Casarotto, a glaciologist at the Trento Museum of Science, told local daily l’Adige.
“Projects are urgently needed to reduce the use of plastic products. Pejo 3000 administrators are now planning to set up awareness panels around the ski resort to increasing awareness among skiers about the Pejo Plastic Free.
The resort, which last winter welcomed 137,000 skiers, will also swap diesel snowmobiles for new hybrid models as well as other initiatives in-store to expand waste collection, recycling and energy usage, including just adding recycled water to the slopes when more snow is required.