Mountaineers Declare Small and Polite War on Banana Skins

By Gary Cutlack on at

People overseeing the enjoyment of our little mountain ranges are getting angry about banana skins being dumped all over the place by casual hillwalkers, and not because climbers are slipping on them and sliding all the way to the bottom then having to start their ascents again.

Banana skins, which seem such an environmentally sound form of packaging, actually take two years to fully biodegrade when chucked on the ground after you've had your healthy carb fix – with mountain guides and tidiers recently removing 8kg of banana skins from the paths and tracks of Ben Nevis to prove the point.

It's not that it's merely unsightly, either; another issue is that wild animals eat the things, which are loaded with the sorts of sugars that creatures that live up mountains oughtn't to eat, lest all the deer and rabbits get fat and develop type 2 diabetes, or become hooked on banana peels and forget how to forage for themselves. They also alter the acidity of the delicate hill soil when they do rot, too, plus there are labels saying "Costa Rica" and suchlike on most banana skins as well. We don't want to end up with Ben Nevis branded in yellow stickers saying it's part of Costa Rica.

A spokesperson for Mountaineering Scotland blamed casual mountain day-outers for the mess, and bracketed banana peels alongside Twix wrappers and water bottles in terms of unwanted rubbish they find, saying: "Ben Nevis has particular problems with litter of all sorts because it's so popular, and because so many of those who climb it aren't regular hill-goers and don't seem to appreciate the harm they are doing by leaving litter, whether it's plastic or banana peels. We urge everyone to avoid dropping any litter and, indeed, to pick up any they find." [BBC]

Image credit: Real3Peaks Challenge