ROME – An Italian ski resort will become one of the first in the world to ban single-use plastics in the upcoming winter season.
Val di Pejo has announced it will prohibit all single-use plastics, such as glasses, plates and bottles, from its facilities and ski schools.
Fabio Sacco, general manager of Val di Sole Tourism Board, which covers the resort, said: “This is the first step in a much broader sustainability program.”
He added that he intends to convert the area into “the most sustainable of the alpine arch.”
The decision was made after authorities of the municipality of Pejo and the Stelvio National Park discovered microplastics in a glacier for the first time.
Sacco said the discovery in the natural area was something that “made all those involved in protection and reflect” exploitation of the area.
The study, led by experts from the University of Milano-Bicocca, found that in the Forni glacier for every kilogram of sediment there were 75 plastic particles, a level comparable to those found in the sediments of Europe’s seas.
The experts believe the origin of the plastics could be from the remains of material used by climbers and particles were dragged by the wind.
Sacco said their presence may be due “to the water cycle” which comes directly from aquatic masses.
The next steps in the sustainability program are to “monitor everything that affects waste, energy and food,” he added.
He said the objective is to promote “zero kilometer” and “biological” products in shelters and schools in the area.
For energy the Val di Pejo uses three hydroelectric facilities that supply the premises as the only source and visitors.
Signs with explanations will be installed in the Pejo3000 area, as this ski resort is known, to raise awareness about this initiative to visitors, mostly hikers and skiers.
Among the prohibited items are plastic dishes, straws and condiment sachets commonly used in restaurants.
The aim is to enhance a greater “quality of the territory” and respond to the needs of some customers “increasingly attentive to these problems,” Sacco said.
Glaciologist Christian Casarotto said plastic accumulated at heights such as those in the area “remains unchanged for a long time, even decades” and “returns to man in the form of damage to the environment and health, since they enter the food chain.”