Indiahikes Teams Remove 500 Kilos Of Waste From Trekking Trails, Inspi...

Indiahikes Teams Remove 500 Kilos Of Waste From Trekking Trails, Inspired By The Zero Waste Himalaya Challenge 

Category News

By Deeksha Vinod


In the past week, Indiahikes teams at Lohajung, Sari and Gangotri base camps, set on a mission to collect and segregate waste as part of the Zero Waste Himalaya Challenge. Within ten days, our teams collected around 500 kg of trash from the mountains.

The Zero Waste Himalayan Challenge gathers people to clean up waste in the Himalayas and identifies the most littered brands. This initiative aims to highlight major polluters and understand the types of waste in the region. Indiahikes is participating by helping collect and sort the waste, providing valuable data for Zero Waste Himalaya to conduct their audits. This year the cleanup happened between 25th May and 5th June.

We at Indiahikes have always been very vocal about disposing waste responsibly through our green trails initiative and have actively been implementing the same on all our treks, even at our office.

To take the green trails initiative further, we have joined the Zero Waste Himalaya challenge, a yearly campaign that is determined to analyse and monitor waste that is collected across the Himalayas. This campaign aligns with the sustainable goals of our organisation and with our motto to leave the mountains better than we found them.

This year, we participated from seven locations across Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand: Gangotri, Janglik, Jiskun, Kotgaon, Lohajung, Raithal and Sari. A total of 108 Indiahikes members participated in the cleanup and together spent 23 hours conducting the green sweep, waste segregation and brand audit

50 kg cleaned from Lohajung

Shachi Tripathi, an experience manager at Indiahikes, gave us some alarming news from the slopes of Lohajung. In an hour, six people had collected around 50 kgs of waste by covering an area of only 400 to 600 metres. That's a concerning amount of trash in such a short distance and time!

The waste that was found during this clean up included liquor bottles, chips packets (mostly from local brands) and plenty of soft plastics.

35 kg cleaned from Sari

On the slopes of Sari, Ashish, our Trainer, and his team also participated in the Zero Waste Himalayan challenge. They covered around a kilometre and collected approximately 35 kg of waste.

Sari is part of the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, and is also the base camp of the Deoriatal Chandrashila trek. Because of this, Sari is bustling with tourists as well as trekkers.

There is also a scarcity of water at Sari right now due to less rain and forest fires, therefore, increasing the number of packaged water bottles in the area. The team at Sari collected around 300 plastic water bottles and 100 liquor bottles, along with several other pieces of soft plastic waste.

270 kg cleaned from Gangotri

The Gangotri temple attracts several pilgrims to the town every year. The increasing number of pilgrims also increases the amount of waste that is generated.

The team targeted the major hotspots around Gangotri, and in the span of 1 hour, they collected 274 kg of mixed waste.

Trek leader Amit Gupta said that, “During our clean up drive, we were using the slogan CLEAN HIMALAYAS GREEN HIMALAYAS, and we could see this grabbing attention for the people around us.”

Teams from Raithal, Janglik, Kotgaon and Jiskun collected 56 kg, 59 kg, 9 kg, and 22 kg of waste respectively.

The Waste Audit:

Before sending the waste collected to Waste Warriors, we did a waste audit through the KoboCollect App. We recorded details such as:

  • Each waste item expressed as kilograms and number of pieces (for example: Maggie ‘x’ kgs and ‘y’ number of packets)
  • Type of waste (i.e. tetra, plastic, wood, glass etc)
  • Material of plastic waste (i.e. multi-layer or if single layer: PET, HDPE, PVC etc)
  • Category of waste (food packaging, personal care, household etc)
  • Location with number of volunteers participating

Our findings from the waste audit:

Findings from the waste audit also enable us to reevaluate our take on sustainability and reinforce our non-negotiables with trekkers. For example, 81.7% of all plastic waste collected as part of the challenge last year was food packaging. Further, almost 78% of this plastic waste was multilayered i.e. they are made up of multiple materials meshed together in layers, making them impossible to recycle. These then end up disrupting the ecosystem by clogging waterways, causing harm to wildlife, and polluting the surrounding air and soil.

The sheer amount of waste that was found in such a small area, by a handful of people in a limited time, really makes you think about the amount of waste that is generated by each individual.

Trekking routes these days see an increasing number of trekkers and tourists. With increasing traffic in such remote places, a lot of environmental problems arise. Our Green Trails initiative, in simple terms, aims to revolutionise trekking in an eco-friendly and sustainable way so that our impact on the environment is minimal. We believe that 10 years down the line, the mountains that we visit today should be as beautiful as they are today, if not better. That requires consistent effort from every person trekking through these beautiful mountains.

What can you do?

As a tourist or a trekker, wherever you go, ensure that you try to carry little to no amount of packaged items. Even if you do, ensure you take it back with you and dispose of it responsibly in areas where there are municipal corporations. It is important to take responsibility for our own waste and leave the place better than we found it.

low-preview-zl2plawthyxtubbl ashish sari wastecollectionzl2plawthyxtubbl ashish sari wastecollection

Sari team and the waste they collected. Photo by Ashish Sukhadre

low-preview-zl2q6awthyxtubee shachi sari wastecollectionzl2q6awthyxtubee shachi sari wastecollection

Lohajung team and the waste they collected. Photo by Shachi Tripathi

low-preview-zl2pmawthyxtubbp gangothri amit wastesegregationzl2pmawthyxtubbp gangothri amit wastesegregation

Gangotri team and the waste they collected. Photo by Amit Gupta

Learn more about our Green Trails Initiative

Deeksha Vinod

Content Marketing Intern

About the author

Deeksha is a content marketing intern at Indiahikes. She has been on quite a few high altitude treks with Indiahikes before joining as an intern. 

She is currently studying in Pune and is doing a BBA degree in Communications. 

Born and brought up in a family of trekking enthusiasts and adventure lovers, she has always loved exploring the outdoors. She has been trekking since the age of three and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. She has done many treks in the Western Ghats as well as a few treks in the Himalayas. 

Trekking has had a very positive impact on her mind and body and has  become an integral part of her life. Her love for nature and trekking has shaped her for who she is and has helped her become a grounded, well rounded person. She resonates with Indiahikes’ vision of “everyone must trek”, because she has seen a positive transformative shift it has brought to many of her loved ones. 

Apart from trekking, she loves to play sports, travel, garden and sing.