Who would not want to go to the mountains for the trek and spend some quality time with nature? Leo Saldhana was one such person who had gone to the mountains to relish their beauty but instead stumbled upon a bigger problem.
The mountains are one of the most scenic beauties of nature and one of the reasons for it being so is the minimal interference of man. However, with the advent of adventure sports and travel and tourism sector, the mountains are not so lonely anymore. Multiple shops and resorts have been set up to cater to people. This has resulted in us being able to enjoy nature and at the same time, unfortunately, it has also led to the degradation of the mountains. There is a lot of waste generated due to this, and unlike our regular urban cities, the villages on the hills do not have a proper waste management system thereby resulting in kilos of untreated waste. The only way the villagers know how to treat this waste is by digging up a hole, filling in the waste and burning it. And that just creates more problems.
In order to solve this problem, Leo along with his fellow members of Green Trail by India Hikes, took up the initiative to clean the mountains and set up a waste management system in the village. They began educating the villagers and taught them how to segregate their waste. The fellows at Green Trail also teach the children at the neighboring schools in the village. Most of the waste generated in such areas were non-recyclable waste. In order to battle with this problem, they have come up with innovative ideas of up-cycling the waste by making brick bottles using the plastic waste collected which was then used for construction purposes. They were able to treat 2500 kilos of waste in just 2 months and are continuing with their good work. For cleaning the trekking trails, they encourage the tourists who came for trekking to pick up the waste along the way to help nature.
Green trails by India Hikes aims at keeping the mountains cleaner and in a better condition than they found it. In order to do so, here are a set of guidelines they encourage people to follow in order to be responsible trekkers:
- Eco bags are provided to each trekker and they are encouraged to collect all the plastic waste they find along the way as a responsibility rather than obligation.
- Segregating the waste collected at the campsite by putting them in the right bags (recyclable, non-recyclable and compost).
- Do not pee or wash yourself near any water sources as the same water is used by the villagers for their daily needs.
- Take responsibility of your sanitary napkins during a trek. Wrap, Ziplock and bring it back to the camp site for safe disposal.
- Do not carry or use wet wipes in a trek. They are non-biodegradable and when sent it landfills, the chemical in the wet wipes percolates through the soil thereby degrading the soil.
- Avoid carrying packaged food on treks.
Inspirational stories like these push us into thinking what we as individuals could do for the society to make it a better place.
So, let us think. Think of how we can contribute? How we could make a difference? Because even the smallest action of ours could make a huge impact on someone’s life.