Mountain Biking is supposed to be a low impact sport. You know, take only photographs, leave only tyre tracks.
Reading 32sixteen today it appears that Mike Ferrentino has been discovering that some of his fellow Americans are in fact stupid assholes who leave litter all over the trails. It not only detracts from the natural surroundings, but many forms of waste have serious ecosystems implications that Mike doesn’t go into. It’s interesting to look at the case study of the Himalayas:
Litter is a very recent problem in the Himalayas. It is only since the arrival of tourists bringing non-biodegradable consumer items from India, China and the rest of the world that the concept of litter has begun to take hold in the high mountains. Neighbouring countries may contribute a small amount of wind blown litter, but most of it comes in the backpacks and pockets of the many visitors. In all it has resulted in a situation today where it is a serious problem. In the past most packaging and containers were made from biodegradable materials or continuously recycled. There was little or no waste.*
What everyone needs to do is simple. Don’t Leave Litter. When riding it’s no big deal to have an extra bag in which to put all non-organic litter. You can even repack items before leaving for a ride to avoid reduce packaging. Picking up other peoples litter as Mike mentions is very helpful and sets a good example to others.
Don’t assume that there will be places that you can leave litter. The solution is simple – if you take it out, you take it home.
*Edited this paragraph for clarity