How Setting Examples Help Us Fight Local Reluctance Towards Waste At Sari

How Setting Examples Help Us Fight Local Reluctance Towards Waste At Sari

Category Green Trails Impact Reports Green Trails

By Neha Satheesan


It’s always an issue of reluctance amongst locals when it comes to handling waste.

For some reason, it’s very easy to throw waste and convert a place into dumpsite, but it’s hard to get your hands dirty, segregate the waste and prevent its accumulation in the future.

This mindset needs to change. The awareness of cleaning waste should spread like a wildfire, or else the scenic village of Sari could soon turn ugly.

One approach to facilitate this change in mindset is to set examples and lead from the front.

At Green Trails, we’ve always pounced on opportunities to communicate the importance of waste management.

Once we get few people onboard, we set their examples to fight the reluctance amongst people.

In today’s article, I will cover the latest updates of Green Trails activities at Sari. I will also showcase few examples where setting local examples have helped us lead the way.

Sari, Deoriatal Trek, Uttarakhand

Local shopkeepers lead the way in waste management

The rally and clean up drive we had in the first week of April got the attention of the local villagers. Pragati, our Green Trails fellow who just finished two weeks in Sari, is now better acquainted with the villagers.

Having gained good grounding of the issues within the village, she is set to organise regular workshops on waste management and production/usage of cloth pads.

Through constant interaction and everyday conversations with the villagers at Chopta, she has convinced 3 shopkeepers to start segregating their waste. They now use different sacks for wet and dry waste. Most of the other shopkeepers are reluctant to segregate waste. They would prefer to just dump all their waste in one big sack and not have the hassle of segregating and transporting the waste.

We hope that shopkeepers like those at Sari will set a good example for the others to follow suit.

However, Pragati heard from the shopkeepers who segregate, that they understand the need for proper waste disposal. They also see how it helps maintain hygiene levels within their shops.

We are hopeful that these select shopkeepers will pave the way for others to follow. It’s only a matter of time till they realise the importance of waste management.

Trekkers happily exchange wet wipes for toilet paper

In a spark of creative genius, we came up with an innovative way to fight the problem of non-biodegradable wet wipes.

For those of you who don’t know – we started this barter system wherein trekkers can exchange their wet wipes for biodegradable toilet paper at our base camp in Sari.

The last group of trekkers whole-heartedly appreciated our Green Trails efforts. Many trekkers agreed not to use non-biodegradable wet wipes and take toilet paper in exchange. Leftover toilet rolls are now preserved for next usage at the base camps. This way the barter system works out really well.

The leftover toilet paper rolls collected at the base camp.

25 sacks of waste segregated in 3 days!

While the waste collection is a continuous process, waste segregation is a backbreaking and time-consuming activity. This week Pragati and team segregated 25 sacks of waste in three days!!

We congratulate them on this astounding feat.

To put their effort into numbers – they segregated a total of 183 kilos of waste into reusable materials. That’s 183 kilos of waste diverted from landfills.

The stats generated from segregation of 25 sacks of waste

Keeping tabs to push waste management

During a follow-up meeting to last week’s parent-teacher meeting, Pragati realised that very few people had adopted waste management techniques.

This disappointed her. After years of ignorant waste management habits, we need a persistent hand to enable a slow but sure mindset change.

With more awareness and knowledge sharing, Pragati is determined to get locals onboard a proper waste management system.

Do you have ideas about how we can facilitate the mindset change? Send us your views, comments and ideas. We would love to hear and put them into action.

What you should do now

1. If you want to serve as a Green Trails Intern: Read this article by our Green Trails Head – Lakshmi.

2. If you want to work with us: Head over to our careers page. We have lots of positions open. We also have lots of applications coming in. So the sooner you apply, the better.

3. If you ended up here by chance and were actually looking for treks to do: Then head over to our upcoming treks page. You’ll find all our Himalayan treks there.

4. If you want to see the 13 best treks of India: Then get our guide here.

Neha Satheesan

Head of Green Trails & Video Content

About the author

Neha Satheesan is the Green Trails Manager. A Master in Environmental and Sustainability Sciences, she works with trekkers and local communities to make trekking an environment-friendly sport. Passionate about community-led initiatives, she believes in empowering people to become agents of change. When not busy saving the environment, she likes to explore cities, doodle and bring up baby plants.