An Italian ski resort is the first in Europe to ban plastic after a discovery was made of a significant amount of microplastics in a nearby glacier.
The slopes at Pejo 3000, a small resort in Val di Sole, Trentino, opened early in December with the use of plastic bottles, bags, cutlery, plates, straws, cups and condiment sachets banned.
Other measures will reportedly be enacted over the season.
The resort, which saw 137,000 skiers visit last winter, has three mountain huts that no longer stock plastic items, according to The Guardian.
“This is the first part of a project intended to make the ski area of Pejo 3000 the most sustainable in the Alps,” Fabio Sacco, the general director of the Val di Sole tourist board, said.
Scientists at the University of Milan-Bicocca conducted a study and last April revealed that the surface of Forni Glacier, among the largest valley glaciers in the Italian Alps, contained 131-162m plastic particles, including fibres and polyethylene.
Scientists believe the microplastics on the Forni Glacier, forming part of Stelvio National Park, come from visitors’ clothing and equipment. They believe it may have been transported there by wind currents.
Christian Casarotto, a glaciologist at the Muse Natural Sciences Museum in Trento, told the Guardian “If plastic products reach the mountains, they will remain there for a long period of time, even decades, and they will then transform into environmental and health damage, and enter into the food chain.”