A DEDICATED environmentalist has picked her way along a 230km mountain trail in Nepal.
Clair Saint, a member of anti-littering group Rubbish Friends, was shocked by the plastic waste strewn along the Annapurna circuit in the Himalayan mountains.
The Clifford Chambers resident began collecting rubbish as she hiked along the trail which is known as the ‘Royal Trek’ after the couple’s guide Pertemba Sherpa, led the Prince of Wales along the trail some 40 years ago.
The retired climber, who is in his 70s, is friends with famous mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington with who he conquered Everest in 1975.
Despite his experience of the trail, Clair said the guide did not seem to ‘see’ the rubbish problem. But his eyes were soon opened as she began picking it up.
The 52 year-old said: “It was all so beautiful but alarm bells started going off when I saw the amount of plastic waste – a lot of it bottles.
“But after we began picking it up the guides started to do it too and just wouldn’t stop.
“They totally embraced the concept of Rubbish Friends – I literally couldn’t stop Pertemba picking once he’d started. The bags were bursting and we only collected the last half hour of our walk – that’s how much rubbish there was on the trails.
“It wasn’t dirty rubbish and most of it didn’t look like it had been there long.
“It could have been from trekkers with packed lunches and some who perhaps don’t remember to pick up their bottles after they’ve taken a break.”
The mum-of-two added it was important to recognise littering was a world-wide problem.
Clair is now looking at ways she could spread the message to travellers and environmentalists alike to pick up rubbish wherever they are in the world.
Search Rubbish Friends on Facebook for more information.