If we wish to soak in the beauty of the mountains, then shouldn’t it be up to us to maintain the pristine nature of those magnificent green slopes?
It was in line with this thought that Indiahikes came up with the Green Trails initiative, which is now an integral part of our trekking experience. And we are happy to say that a lot of our trekkers have demonstrated an innate passion to preserve the mountain’s natural beauty.
Meet one such trekker, 10-year-old Eshan Kumar. This young boy took it upon himself to champion the cause of our Green Trails initiative in the most pro-active manner and ended up bagging a Spirit of Trekking Award.
Eshan Kumar is no stranger to nature conservation. Even in his home town, Bangalore, Eshan and his family are involved in several initiatives such as cleaning drives for their neighbourhood, the nearby lake and even watering the trees in their vicinity.
Eshan had witnessed the damaging effects of pollution on the city’s green pockets, but what he was unaware of was that even the mountains aren’t spared of polluting acts such as littering. It was during the Kedarkantha trek that Eshan became privy to this sad reality.
It was day 2 of the trek and his team was just reaching Kedarkantha base, when Eshan noticed the sad state of the mountains there.
“Kedarkantha base is not exclusive to Indiahikes and there are a few other campsites there. Unfortunately, not all of them follow the Green Trails initiative,” says Trek Leader Indrajit. “The place was littered with plastic bags, wrappers, water bottles and tetra packs.
Little Eshan was furious to see the mountains like that. He didn’t even proceed towards the campsite, instead he took an eco-bag and tried to collect as much garbage as he could. When one bag didn’t seem enough, he insisted that we provide him with two more eco bags. He even refused to eat till he felt he had done a decent job of cleaning up the place.”
Trek Leader Indrajit was so impressed by the young boy’s drive to spearhead the Green Trails initiative that he made him the Captain of the Eco Task competition that took place later on that day.
“My Trek Leader Indrajit split us into four teams. Each team was given four gunny bags and a duration of 20 minutes to collect the maximum amount of litter,” says an enthusiastic Eshan.
“As a Captain I motivated my team and encouraged them by saying that we can help restore the beauty of these parts of the mountains through our task. It wasn’t about winning the task but seeing to it that each of my team members did their best.”
Even though Eshan Kumar tried to lead his team to victory, his team didn’t land the first place. The determined Eco Task Captain, however won the Spirit of Trekking award for his unwavering dedicating towards the Green Trails Initiative.
“Throughout the entire trek, Eshan was very conscious of how he disposed away his plastic waste, chocolate and chikki wrappers. And he never hesitated to pick up litter which wasn’t even deposited by him. Everyday, his eco bag was full and that didn’t suffice for him. He used to borrow his mother’s eco bag and fill that as well. That’s the kind of drive we expect to see in our trekkers,” says Trek Leader Indrajit.
“Usually, adults set an example for children. But Eshan set an example for all his co- trekkers. Even they were enthusiastic about picking up litter after they saw how much Eshan was invested in keeping the mountains clean.”
On being quizzed on his hands on approach to the Green Trails initiative, this is what Eshan had to say. “I have always seen mountains in pictures. They look so colourful, beautiful and absolutely free of litter. That was what I expected to see during my first high altitude trek,” explains Eshan.
“I was very disappointed when I saw that people had spoiled the mountains with garbage. When my Trek Leader Indrajit explained the Green Trails initiative to us, I was excited to get started on it as soon as possible. Jit is a huge nature lover like me and I was very happy to work alongside him to keep the mountains clean. It didn’t matter that I didn’t put the garbage there in the first place. I just wanted to make the mountains exactly the way I dreamt they would be, beautiful, clean and unpolluted.
“Also, my teachers have always stressed on the importance of making our Earth a better place for our future generations. If everyone does their bit to follow the excellent Green Trails initiative, then our mountains will also be a much better place and in the coming years, people can witness the true, unspoiled beauty of the slopes again.”