Dan Collyns explains an unusual plan to paint the Andes white to halt the receding of glaciers and fight global warming.
(Dan Collyns, BBC) Slowly but surely an extinct glacier in a remote corner of the Peruvian Andes is being returned to its former colour, not by falling snow or regenerated ice sheets, but by whitewash.
It is the first experimental step in an innovative plan to recuperate Peru’s disappearing Andean glaciers.
But there is debate between those who dismiss the idea as just plain daft and those who think it could be a simple but brilliant solution, or at least one which should be put to the test.
The World Bank clearly believes the idea – the brainchild of 55-year-old Peruvian inventor, Eduardo Gold – has merit as it was one of the 26 winners from around 1,700 submissions in the “100 Ideas to Save the Planet” competition at the end of 2009.
Mr Gold, who has no scientific qualifications but has studiously read up on glaciology, is enthused that the time has come to put his theory into practice.
Although he is yet to receive the $200,000 (£135,000) awarded by the World Bank, his pilot project is already underway on the Chalon Sombrero peak, 4,756 metres above sea level, in an area some 100km west of the regional capital of Ayacucho.
The area has long been denuded of its snowy, white peaks.