IMF Carries out 12-Day Shrikhand Mahadev Cleaning Expedition -1,900 kg Garbage Recovered
The spiritual trek to the holy shrine of Shrikhand Mahadev at an altitude of 5,300 meters is draped in nature’s grandeur which thousands of devotees and adventure seekers explore every year. Unfortunately, the holy place hasn’t been left unscarred from the wrath of plastic pollution.
In the 2019 season, Lalit Mohan, a local boy trekked up the mountains again after many years to savor the green sights he had rejoiced at that time. To his surprise, the place was flooded with people and terraces cut over the campsite to accommodate more tents.
There was single-use plastic waste and other things like glass bottles littered all over the place. Not even the summit of the holy spot was barred from littering as people made their offerings in plastic bags and glass bottles!
Lalit was touched by this transition and couldn’t help but write a letter to the Director of Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) to conduct a cleaning drive along the entire route of the trek. He got a positive response from the director IMF, Col. H.S. Chauhan. As a result, the cleaning drive expedition in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and NSS was finalized.
A team led by Lalit Mohan, comprising of the members of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation – Lalit Kanwar, Praveen Dahiya, Nikhil Chauhan, Rajat Jamwal and Hemant Sharma was flagged off by the SDM, Anni, Kullu district, on October 2, 2019. They started off the cleaning drive from Shingad, the base campsite.
The team proceeded further by collecting all the litter from the campsites at Brati Nala, Reyosh Thach, Khumba, Thathi Bheel, Tharchu, Kali Ghati, Bhim Talai, Kungsha, Bhim Dwar, Parvati Bagh and Nain Sarovar. They finished off the herculean task at the top spot of the holy shrine.
They collected a total of 1,900 kg garbage in 170 sacks while scaling up the trek having minus 10 degrees temperature. Locals provided able help during the expedition carrying the sacks down the mountain. The team reached Nirmand village back on October 14 and deposited the garbage with Block Development officer.
To spread awareness about conserving the environment and maintaining cleanliness in the mountains, the team had an interaction with school students at Jaon and Bagipul villages.
The team determined that most of the litter comprised of plastic sheets, bottles, wrappers and leftover food resulting from the irresponsible disposal of garbage at public feasts (Bhandaras). Also, the 700 private tents set up throughout the route of the mountain contributed to the menace considerably as there were no temporary toilets or proper garbage disposal setup.
As a matter of fact, the authorities granted permission for setting campsites without planning for waste management. Major chunk of this trek falls in the reserve forest area and it’s baffling how permission is granted for such setups.
Via: Himachal Watcher