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Peru adopts desperate mountain painting measure to arrest glacier melt

June 17 2010

Peru adopts desperate mountain painting measure to arrest glacier melt
Melting glaciers in the highlands of Peru have prompted locals to come up with a drastic solution, painting their mountains white.

No mere aesthetic parallel to the glistening snows which once bedecked the region the plan is actually grounded in scientific principle. White colours reflect solar radiation back into space, preventing the ground from absorbing heat.

Paint enough of the landscape white and, so the theory goes, the temperature will drop sufficiently for ice and snow to once again form.

The concept stemmed from the creative mind of Edwardo Gold, a Peruvian who entered a World Bank competition to devise ideas to save the planet back in 2009.

His mountain painting scheme won the affectations of jurors and funding has duly been forthcoming for the Chalon Sombrero peaks minimalist makeover.

The process employs four men from the local village laboriously trekking up the mountain every day prior to mixing an environmentally friendly paint solution and slopping it over as many rocks as they can from jugs.

Working at the rate of one hectare per week the team have ambitions to paint the whole summit and two adjoining peaks covering a total of 70 hectares.

Opinion is divided on the likely impact of the scheme with any impact likely to be felt only in the micro climate of the immediate area. Environmentalists increasing desperation is opening up once fanciful notions however with the World Bank projecting that Peru’s glaciers could disappear entirely within 20 years without remedial action.

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