THE EARTH PROJECT
Actelios, a Falck Group’s company and leader in the field of energy from
renewable sources, along with the Ev-K˛-CNR Committee, the reference
organization for scientific and technological research activities in
mountainous areas, have jointly devised a complex, applied research
project for contributing to the environmental safeguard of remote, high
altitude places, named EARTH Ecological Activity For Refuse Treatment At
It is a prototype equipment for thermal treatment of waste left behind
by mountain and trekking expeditions, local communities and
high-altitude mountain parks, suitable for operating in extreme
environmental conditions where rarefied oxygen and the total absence of
electric power imply the necessity for finding ground-breaking
EARTH shall enable the total disposal of waste produced by mountaineers
during their presence at high altitude. Litter, for example, which is
the result of as many as 811 alpine teams that, commencing from the
beginning of the year 2000 to date, according to figures released by the
Nepali Ministry of Tourism, have transited in the Himalayas from the
Nepalese face, 125 of which heading for the Everest.
The numbers translate into an enormous amount of garbage. Statistics
provided by the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (the local
environmental conservation institution for Mount Everest) reveal that
the world’s tallest mountain hosts about 12.8 tons of waste annually at
base camp alone. Add to that the tons of trash deposited at higher
sites. And all this refers solely to the southern ridge.
The quantity of waste would be enough to fill as many as 4 railway
wagons to the brim. Although less crowded, the K2 region, in the
Karakoram range, presents a similar emergency.
EARTH will be the solution to such a legacy. Designed as a series of
sectional elements weighing not more than 20 kg each, in order to enable
bearers to haul it easily by shoulder, it is in a position to reduce the
garbage mass by 97%, operating in complete autonomy and compatible with
the rather delicate surroundings; it is also fully compliant with
applicable national and international regulations.
Thanks to its user-friendly design and simple maintenance procedures,
the equipment shall be handed over to the local populace that shall
oversee its global operations.
At full operating capability, this waste-treatment unit will allow for a
thorough thermal treatment for disposing of refuse produced during an
entire excursion season that witnesses an average of about 4,000
trekkers and 18,000 local escorts. The whole process will take place
with full respect of the environment and contribute to the development
of a culture relating to sustainable disposal and environmental
safeguards, even on the world’s roof-top.
The plant, presented to the press in Cervinia today, will be shipped, in
September 2006, to the Central Karakoram National Park, at the entrance
of Baltoro (the valley leading to the K2) and installed at a height of
3,400 metres. Subsequently, the unit will also be utilised at the
Sagarmatha, Mount Everest’s National Park, and installed at an altitude
of 4,700 metres.
In light of the agreement signed with the Ev-K˛-CNR Committee, the
Alpine Club of Pakistan, within the sphere of the Karakoram Trust
project, has arranged to collect the garbage of the 2006 alpine season,
to be disposed this fall with the aid of EARTH.