Geneva, 11 December 2021 (TDI): A passionate climber and UN Geneva worker, Michel Baronian gave a message on  International Mountain Day. He is an avid mountaineer for more than 40 years.

“The mountain for me is like the ocean, a space of liberty where you go where you want. We must respect these beautiful and magical places.”

Although Michel has stopped keeping track. He estimated he has climbed Mont Blanc. It is  Western Europe’s highest mountain at 4,807 meters. Michel Baronian has also scaled peaks in Annapurna. It is in Nepal and is higher than 8000 meters. Moreover, he stated that he did not use supplemental oxygen. He underscored that mountains are a moment of happiness for him. Moreover, a source of serenity. He also underlined his dream to scale Mount Everest one day.

International Mountain Day

The mountain countries mark International Mountain Day on 11 December. It includes Switzerland and other mountain countries. The theme of 2021 is “sustainable mountain tourism”. It highlights the importance of keeping the world’s mountains clean. It is increasingly a key concern for environmentalists and tourism boards alike.

Mountain Tourism

Mountain tourism accounts for around 15 to 20 percent of global tourism. UN Geneva’s host country, Switzerland. It boasts more than 200 ski regions. Moreover, it is home to the Monte Rosa, the Dom, and the Matterhorn. These all regions dominate the landscape above 4,000 meters.


Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe.
Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe.
Sustainable mountain tourism 

Michel Baronian has also shared the high-altitude problems that he has tackled. There are issues of pollution moreover the helicopters cant land above 6000 meters. Therefore they can’t reach many high-altitude camps for cleaning.

He suggested that climbers should have taken a picture of their camps both before and after use. It is to prove they cleaned up after themselves.  He stressed that this issue needs to be raised. Moreover, it must be considered by the entire mountaineering community

Respect local culture

The Director of the Swiss Tourism Federation (STF), Philipp Niederberger mentioned that good waste management is an important aspect of sustainable maintain tourism. There is a need to remove people’s trash from landscapes. He underlined that ” we are building up a national competence center for sustainability in tourism.”

Niederberger also motioned the need to respect the local culture. It is also an important aspect of sustainable tourism.

Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe.
Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe.

For those who are new to tourism in the Alps, tour operators guide them. The tourist offices along with the mountain guide have an important task to demonstrate people to behave sustainably in the mountains

Fresh air escape amid COVID

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than usual fled to the Swiss mountains. It is to cope with the ongoing restrictions. Moreover, to reconnect with nature.

Programme Officer with the Mountain Partnership Secretariat at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), RosaLaura Romeo, mentioned that maintaining tourism at the national level is an increasingly popular modality for tourism. He also underscored that the health of a mountain has a direct effect on our lives. This is because mountains are the water towers of the world.

Lesya Nikolayeva, an environmental expert, at an event in Geneva on beating plastic pollution, said that a host of volunteer initiatives were part of the solution. The “Clean-Up Tour” is a Summit Foundation. It is an initiative to clean up mountains, it was active in Switzerland. Moreover, its volunteers had already collected over 150 Tonnes of waste since its creation in 2001. Consequently, it is proof that plastic pollution can be tackled locally.





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