How do you feel when you see garbage in the mountains? Does it make you angry? Anguished?
I have so many questions jamming my brain right now. Why are religious places dirtier than other places? Why do we wash and dump everything in rivers though we know their purity is vital to our existence? Why do we think our efforts are too small to bear fruit so we do nothing?
As children, most of us grew up reading and watching fairy tales. There was no line of distinction between reality and magic. We lived in a happy bubble.
I find that this childhood magic comes rushing back in the mountains. In the midst of such exquisite beauty, all negativities disappear. Troubles vanish, big problems seem inconsequential. It’s magic all over again!
But is that why we also believe that the garbage we leave behind or fail to pick up will also disappear? Are we so used to someone clearing up after us at home and in the city that we have become careless and just leave our stuff lying around? Do we expect maids, sweepers, garbage collectors to appear at 12,000 feet? Or maybe the genie from Aladdin’s lamp?!
I’ve seen that many trekkers are sensitive to the environment. Some go out of their way to clean the trails, campsites and even more. It’s disappointing that not all of them show that much care. Sometimes, our trek leaders hear things like,
“We are here to have a good time – not to work.”
“Can’t you hire someone to clean up and maintain the toilets? We don’t mind paying a little extra.”
Since when has cleaning your own mess become work? Since when has giving back to mother nature after taking so much from her become a burden?
Questions like these leave me flabbergasted!
Perhaps our eyes are so accustomed to seeing garbage all around that we turn a blind eye to it in the mountains. Please remember that you play an extremely crucial part, even by picking up just one stray wrapper or a plastic bottle. You’re one of the few honoured people in the world to set foot on these beautiful trails. If you don’t pick it up, it’s going to lie there forever.
How to show you care about the mountains
- Carry your own waste back to your city and dispose it there.
- Wholeheartedly join in campsite cleaning before leaving
- Pick up as much plastic waste as you can while trekking. Make the most of your eco-bags!
- See that you undo some damage done by others. Your trek leader will suggest ways depending on the trek you are doing.
We can’t just wish garbage away. The magic is in our hands 🙂