The Himalayas cannot digest more garbage

Shimla: Getting to 17000 altitude, where just reaching takes grit and physical fitness, to clean out rubbish and garbage left behind by other climbers and create awareness is a task that Ajay Dhiman and his team have undertaken for a Green Srikhand campaign.

Increasing number of pilgrims taking to the four day arduous trek to get to the Srikhand Mahadev peak in Himachal Pradesh, is more leaving behind human waste, garbage and other pollutants, which has forced Dhiman in association with Wild Craft, WWF Green Hiker Program and Dainik Bhaskar Foundation to impress upon the trekkers that enough is enough and the Himalayas cannot digest more of it.

Talking to Hill Post, Ajay Dhiman said “The notion of a ‘Green Srikhand’ campaign started in 2011, when I first visited this holly place. I found that due to lack of proper garbage disposal facility, people had littered in the open which had resulted into the heaps of garbage .So that day I decided to educate people especially localities how to keep their environment clean.”

He added, “under this drive waste collection bags are distributed to the shops, localities, tourists and pilgrims. They are also politely asked not to litter the clean mountain environs”.

Situated at an altitude of 5,155 meters, the Srikhand Mahadev Yatra takes place once in the year in the month of July and August. The peak is considered to be an abode of Lord Shiva.

Every year more than 20,000 people visit of what is India’s toughest pilgrimage. Located in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, one has to undergo a rough uphill trek of 36 KMs to get there.

Dhiman says, “ to bring sense and sanity  into the picture , their team encountered much difficulty but as they say nothing is impossible so we made our  best efforts to educate people  about  proper use of the waste bags and urged them to keep the surroundings clean during the Yatra and we need to succeed”.

Not only the team has been getting support from the pilgrims but many people have come forward to support the cause.

Vinay Chamoli, a volunteer from Chandigarh says, “our team helped to organize three camps at Singaud, Thachru, Bhimdwar and Parvati  Bagh where we spread environmental awareness and did distribute small and handy bags to pilgrims and tourists. Srikhand Sewa Dal and the local people have also helped us in the cause.

This year the responses were more positive than the previous one and many people are coming forward for such cause, said Chamoli.

Encouraged by the Green Srikhand 2013 campaign Dhiman and his team have decided to extend it to Hatu Peak and Serolsar Lake.

Our campaign not only inspires others but also makes all of us realize that the Himalayas do belong to everyone a ‘pilgrimage’ to the sacred mountain peaks in the land of gods is certainly not complete without respecting the sanctity of the Himalayas, said Dhiman.

Preneeta Sharma, a budding journalist with a strong flair for picking out the unusual from the usual. Preneeta lives in Shimla and is a contributor reporter with Hill Post.

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