This week has been quite eventful for us. We have made some progress from our last week’s projects and have also ventured into trying out some new things. Here are a few updates on how our team is trying to keep the mountains green and clean.
250 kg non-recyclable waste brought down to Manali
Hampta Pass is a cross-over trek. It starts in Manali and ends in Lahaul. It makes getting all the collected waste back to Manali difficult. Our interns have been working on a system to bring down all the waste from campsites and dhabas along the trail. This involves utmost coordination between trek leaders, dhabas, mule wallahs and the interns. The system has been working really well. Last Tuesday, the mule wallahs brought down more than 250 kg of waste which was segregated by the interns at Jobra.
This week again, the interns have been hard at work to bring down this week’s waste to Jobra and then to the landfill. You might think, why is this a big deal But facilitating waste transportation is one of the biggest challenges in any waste management system in remote trails and villages in the Himalayas. There are no roads for vehicles – and when there are, there is usually a lot of expense involved.
Nine sacks of waste collected in three days
At Ghangria nine sacks of waste were collected in the span of three days. The waste was predominantly non-recyclable waste like chocolate wrappers, chips packets, mineral water bottles.
I request our trekkers who are embarking in a life altering journey into the Himalayas to act more responsibly by avoiding carrying packaged foods and non-reusable plastic bottles into the sacred mountains. And instead using greener alternatives such as:
30 Sacks of waste collected in Kashmir
Meanwhile regular waste collection has been going on on our current treks.
Kashmir is one of our toughest treks in terms of operations. Moving equipment and people is a struggle in itself. Even in these tough situations, our staff and trekkers have been extremely spirited in cleaning up the trails as much as they can.
One such place where we have made a difference is at Gangbal on the Kashmir Great Lakes trek. This place sees a lot of traffic and hence huge amounts of littering. Let’s hope that by the end of our season, we will leave it in a better condition.
This week, our waste collection has come to about 30 sacks in total since the beginning. They are all stored at Naranag at the moment. At the end of the season, they will be taken disposed of properly.
Inspiring students to go green
Our Green Trails interns, Komal and Neha, addressed the students of Inter-college school (class 6-12) in the Pandukeshwar area on Global warming. In their session they highlighted the harmful effects of global warming. In doing so they tried to describe what their home would look like in a few years due to climate change; streams would run dry, no more snow capped mountains and the extinction of many native trees and animals amongst many.
The students were taken aback once they learnt how fast nature is being destroyed. They understood the urgency for change in order to save our one and only home.
Bookmarking appreciation for green crusaders
All our trekkers made an effort worth applauding in leaving the Himalayas in a cleaner state than before. However, Mitali and Mohit, were regular participants and great contributors towards green trails on their trek. They put in the extra effort to pick up as much waste as they could along the trail and were known for filling their eco-bags with waste collected along the trail. They were the epitome of Indiahike’s green crusaders!
As a token of appreciation they were given bookmarks made using cardboard waste.
New toilet model testing
Intern Adithya has finished the first design of our new toilets. The idea is to have a toilet that is comfortable to use, easy to transport, and one that can separate solid waste from liquid waste. The new toilet model is made keeping these ideas in mind.
We used plywood to get this basic toilet up. Work is underway to build the liquid waste diverting unit that will go with this toilet. There is still some work to be done but we are excited to see the design shaping up. Here is a preview of this new design.
Our intern Nitya is working to start a new eco-club at our Jagatsukh school and our intern Himanshu, who just joined yesterday will be taking over testing this toilet along with the biodigester. Our team is now trying all they can to please the Gods to make this work!
The past week has been quite productive for us. We are moving slowly but are passionate about doing whatever we can to keep the mountains green. Please write back to me with any comments, queries or suggestions that you might have regarding our projects at [email protected]
More progress next week!