Some people keep making us believe in the best of humankind with their kindness, effort, and desire to make the world a better place. One of those people is Marion Chaygneaud-Dupuy who won the 2019 ‘Terre de Femmes’ award given out by the ‘Fondation Yves Rocher’ for her work in helping clean up Mount Everest from the tons and tons of trash left behind by the people climbing it.

In the 3 years since founding the ‘Clean Everest’ project in 2016, Marion and her team had cleared a whopping 8.5 tons of waste and garbage before being awarded the 2019 award for their hard work. If you think that sounds impressive, here’s another fun fact—that amount of rubbish they cleared amounted to three-quarters of all the manmade waste on the mountain.

Impressive? We certainly think so. But that’s nothing compared to Marion’s future plans.

Alpinist and eco-activist Marion has cleaned up 8.5 tons of rubbish on Mount Everest in just 3 years with her team

The yaks were a gift from the local authorities to help bring the garbage down the mountain

Marion is on a tough and ambitious mission: she aims to finish cleaning up Everest and then she wants to move on to the entire Himalayan mountain range.

The 39-year-old has already scaled Mount Everest 3 times and saw first-hand what over 30 years of expeditions have done to the mountainside.

“Climbing Everest should offer one of the purest interactions between humans and the natural world. But in 2013, when I reached the top, I realized that the mountain had been damaged by 30 years of expeditions. I estimated that nearly 10 tonnes of waste had been discarded at the peaks alone! I was utterly shocked. I’ve been passionate about nature since I was a little girl,” she told the ‘Fondation Yves Rocher’ about when she noticed the rubbish issue on the mountain.

For Marion, nature is a vital part of her life that helps her feel alive. That’s why she wants to do her part in helping others get the best possible experience. Her connection to nature started when she was a child. She would play in the woods and learn the names of the trees, plants, and animals.

As a grown-up, she traveled to India and Tibet where she’s been living and working as a mountain guide for over 17 years. After founding the ‘Clean Everest’ project, she convinced the local authorities to support her project and they gave her 50 yaks to help get the waste down the mountainside. We can only hope that Marion will continue with her mission and that others follow in her footsteps in the snow.

The pollution affecting the Himalayas has an effect on the drinking water used by around 2 billion people living in the Chinese and Indian valleys, so the battle to clean up the mountains isn’t just about protecting nature. It’s also about our quality of life.

Check out this video that goes into more detail about the initiative right here