Manali, June 18
As many as 21 students and a teacher from the IIT-Mandi have started a “Clean up Himalayas” campaign from the 12,500 ft-high Beas Kund in collaboration with the Discover Himalaya, an eco-tourism promotion agency.
The purpose of the campaign is to clean major trek sites of Himachal and spread the message of Swachh Bharat. The hiking and trekking club of the IIT collected garbage from the Beas Kund, Bakarthach and Dhundi areas. Waste sacks were handed over to garbage treatment plant of the Municipal Council, Manali.
Gaurav Bhutani, assistant professor, IIT-Mandi, motivated students to carry out the campaign. “We have a hiking and trekking club in the institute. We had planned to expose students to high-altitude trekking and also clean up the region. All 21 students have done a fantastic job in three days. We learn so many things from nature which is being harmed by our irresponsible activities. Such campaigns will continue in future also. We hope that many others will learn from these students,” he said.
Lokesh, a student, said he was happy that he could contribute in preserving the fragile ecology of the Himalayas. He said he was surprised that even many educated mountaineers were so irresponsible. Another student Vivek Sharma said they found plastic waste, bottles, camping waste, papers and many other non-biodegradable things.
Garima, a student, said what surprised her most was that people go for mountaineering for physical benefits but they do not care for the health of the Himalayas
Kaushal Bhardwaj, coordinator of the campaign, said though the locals also contributed in littering the Himalayas, the major culprit was irresponsible tourism.
“Though many tour and trek organisers have nowadays taken up eco-friendly tourism, even a single culprit can harm the environment. We cleaned the Beas Kund, Bakarthach and Dhundi area. This practice is definitely going to encourage others,” he added.
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