Thursday, Oct 06, 2022
×
Outlook.com
×
75 Years Of India's Independence

We The People: An Army Veteran’s War To Clean The Himalayas Of Garbage

Volunteers of Pradeep Sangwan’s ‘Healing Himalayas’ foundation have trekked 10,000 km and handled more than 800 tonnes of garbage in five years.

Pradeep Sangwan, Eco-warrior
Pradeep Sangwan, Eco-warrior

For Pradeep Sangwan, an alumnus of the Rashtriya Military School in Ajmer, this is perhaps the toughest ‘battle’ he has faced in his life. The veteran has embarked on an arduous task to free Himachal Pradesh and its hills from the menace of garbage left behind by insensitive tourists. “It will take a lifetime to clean the Himalayas,” Sangwan says.

Almost five years into a self-motivated drive to clean up the mountain trails, hamlets and small towns, Sangwan—who heads the ‘Healing Himalayas’ foundation—has handled more than 800 tonnes of garbage and trekked 10,000 km. Yet, he admits that a permanent or sustainable solution to the garbage problem is nowhere in sight. The influx of tourists—a large percentage of them highly “irresponsible”—is a new challenge. Most of them, born and brought up in urban cultures, don’t really strike a chord with local communities and the environment. Thus, they leave behind huge amounts of trash and litter in the hills. Recently, social media was flooded with disturbing photographs of tourists littering the streets and roads at Manali and in the Rohtang Tunnel. The Himachal Pradesh high court had to intervene and direct the local administration to clean up the places.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement