If you had to name one place in the world you think is free from the reach of pollution, where would it be? The Alps? Mount Everest? 

Some forms of pollution can be seen with the naked eye, but there are other more insidious forms that stay hidden from sight. These chemicals are persistent and hazardous; their presence is disturbingly far-reaching and could even accumulate in the water we drink and the food we eat.

The only way to detect them is through sampling. That’s why right now, Greenpeace teams, in collaboration with local alpine associations and volunteer groups, are heading expeditions to some of the most beautiful and remote corners of the world. Our teams have set out to seven famous sites spanning the globe, to collect samples of water and snow, and test them for hazardous chemicals.

 

In China, Greenpeace East Asia is running an expedition to the Haba Snow Mountains; in Europe, Greenpeace Switzerland is exploring the oldest national park in the Swiss Alps, collecting samples from extraordinary small lakes nestled among the mountains. The same will happen in the Sibillini National Park in the Italian Apennines, the High Tatras Mountains of Slovakia and the Golden Mountains of Altai in Russia.

In Chile, Greenpeace Andino is taking samples in the stunning Patagonian Mountains of Torres del Paine. In Northern Europe, the expedition will cover Treriksroset, the point at which the borders of Sweden, Norway and Finland meet.

 

Our aim is to understand how widespread contamination from hazardous chemicals really is, and whether even the most remote areas of our planet, far away from civilisation or polluting industries, have been affected.

Four years ago, Greenpeace started a campaign to challenge the fashion industry to commit to eliminating toxic chemicals from its production chain. Back then, we didn’t know how far we would go, but today, the Detox commitment is becoming a standard for textiles and something that brands are proud to be a part of.

We’re not the only ones who are concerned: awareness is already growing among politicians and scientists. On May 1, over 200 scientists from 38 countries shared their concerns about highly fluorinated chemicals and demanded that their production and use be limited, via the “Madrid Statement”.

While this is great news for us, the journey is far from over. Much more stringent regulations are needed to protect the environment and public health from the potential hazards of toxic chemicals.

We need concerned individuals and consumers to unite and act, to strengthen the momentum of the movement to reach beyond the fashion industry, into others whose production is problematic and riddled with toxins.

We need you to stay with us. We don’t yet know what we’ll find, but when we do, we’ll be ready.

Watch this space…