A Turkish expert said mountains are more likely to be polluted as more people engage in outdoor mountaineering sports during situations like the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, on eve of the International Mountain Day observed on Friday, Ersan Basar, head of the Turkish Mountaineering Federation said that people who stay indoors prefer to go to nature during the pandemic.

Basar, a marine scientist professor from Trabzon’s Karadeniz Technical University, stressed that many people were engaged in camping and mountaineering activities to relax and enjoy nature.

Underlining the importance of having training in mountaineering and nature sports, he said the training comes with a high degree of environmental sensitivity.

“Mountaineering training begins with the protection of nature and the environment. Therefore, it is very important for people who will start mountaineering to get training,” Basar said.

“Camping sites are the riskiest areas in terms of environmental pollution. Mountaineers need to bring their garbage to the dumpsites in the settlements and produce as little litter as possible,” he said.

Warning campers not to mix any unnatural products into the water such as rivers and lakes, he said these areas, which provides drinking water for many living creatures, are the most important sources of life in the mountains.

“The risk of mountain accidents has recently increased as people who go to nature have not been trained about life in nature. Therefore, our federation has started to provide online training,” he added.

Mountain studies

Stressing that studies on mountains have been increasing day by day, he said many scientific articles were published on mountains, especially on fauna and flora.

“It will be beneficial to develop projects with the participation of universities, non-governmental organizations, and mountain villagers to emphasize mountain culture,” he added.

On International Mountain Day, he said the Turkish Mountaineering Federation annually marks the day by organizing different activities.

“Awareness studies are continuously carried out in the mountains to increase the respect for the mountain culture and not to disrupt the natural structures of the mountains,” he noted.

As this year’s theme is “mountain biodiversity”, he said the biodiversity should be protected by increasing awareness.

The increasing attention to the importance of mountains led the UN to declare 2002 the International Year of Mountains.

The first international day was celebrated in 2003.

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