It has been snowing a lot on high slopes in the Alps but last Friday was fortunately sunny in France as employees from the British Consulate in Marseille and Crystal Ski Holidays once again joined forces with the town of Chamonix-Mont Blanc, the French Alpine Club, Lafuma, as well as other mountain-based organisations, and a large number of volunteers to collect rubbish unfortunately left behind by some of the more than 500,000 visitors each year to the Mer de Glace glacier at Chamonix in France.

This year marks the 10th edition of the Mer de Glace clean-up event in Chamonix which aims to raise awareness of the need to protect the Mer de Glace glacier and our environment as a whole. Waste left on the glacier often reappears decades later as the glacier ice melts.

This year, the group were also joined by two Crystal Ski Holiday competition winners who specialise in the geography of cold environments and had won a competition organised by the company to volunteer to join in the clean-up of the glacier and win a two-night stay in Chamonix.

To mark this anniversary, an eco-friendly village, exhibition and workshops were open to the public to raise awareness and share best practice.  Participants and locals were entertained at the Maison des Artistes by a group of musicians who also joined in on the rubbish-collection and awareness-raising hike on the glacier.

British Ambassador to France, Lord Ed Llewellyn, said: “I am delighted to see staff at our Consulate in Marseille once again working closely with Crystal Ski Holidays and other partners, not forgetting the French authorities, to raise awareness of the importance of protecting our environment.“

Crystal Office Operations Manager France, Catherine Allen, said: “This is now the third year that Crystal has been involved in the clean-up as for us, sustainable tourism is fundamental. Over the last ten years, over 20 tonnes of waste was collected from the glacier including a truck tyre and a Swiss passport dated 1964 – certainly one of the more unusual finds.”