Hike for Health, but Leave No Waste

By Col Stocker

Damage and littering can be an all too common sight when numbers going into the outdoors increase and one that certainly became very evident after people had been restricted during Covid lockdowns. While everyone should be able to access and enjoy all the benefits of getting outdoors, it of course comes with a responsibility and respect for the environment and maintaining it in away that everyone can enjoy in the same way. It is something seen across the world, so it’s great to hear of passionate people looking to help combat the impact in a positive way.

Hudson Laizer from Mbeya University of Science and Technology, Tanzania, approached the Alpkit Foundation for some support when looking to address the impact of increased numbers heading onto the trails of their local Mount Loleza.

“Hiking in Mount Loleza has become a popular weekend outdoor activity in Mbeya since the COVID 19 pandemic. Despite its health and other benefits, this great outdoor activity has resulted in increasing waste along the hiking routes where used plastic bottles, aluminium foils, tin cans, cigarette butts, used masks and other wastes are dumped. These wastes affect the environment and the biodiversity in the mountain. Therefore, this project will work with volunteers firstly to collect all the wastes along the hiking route and install dustbins and waste disposal signs written “Keep the Environment Clean ”.

For this project the Alpkit Foundation was pleased to provide £200 towards the purchase of dustbins, gloves, sign posts and other materials needed by the team. All of which could be used in their efforts to promote hiking among the younger generation within secondary schools and universities in Mbeya, raise awareness on the benefits, as well as keeping the environment clean.

“The team was able to reach more than 8 secondary schools and 2 universities in Mbeya and promote hiking and keeping the trails and environment clean. The turnout during the weekend after speaking with the students was great, we had a lot of volunteers helping cleaning and collecting the garbage along the hiking trail of Mt Loleza. Also sign posts reminding people not to litter were installed.

Hudson hopes that by increasing awareness and education around access to the local area it should benefit the hiking community and people living close to the mountain, with positive engagement already with those secondary school and university students who actively participated in the hikes and cleaning efforts.

“The team is very thankful to Alpkit Foundation for the financial help that enabled the successful implementation of this project. The outdoor activities help people to experiences and appreciate nature, and the project was able to inspire many young people who spend more time sitting and using electronic devices to go outside and experience the beauty that nature offers.”

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