“Our society must move from ego-system to eco-system economics. This requires that we shift from ego-system silos to eco-system awareness that considers others and includes the whole.”
We feel the need for eco sensitivity strongly more than ever when encountering careless garbage disposal on our haunts in the mountains. As a contributor to increasing carbon footprint in the pristine nooks of the Himalayas, we have been feeling overwhelmingly guilty. Though we know our trekking methods to be pro-sustenance to a great extent, it hardly feels better, probably because, there is a more complex ethical question larking here—
On whom is the onus of cleaning the mountains, if not us?
The question answers itself and we have only one thing to do—get a move forward with our pro-earth thinking, start our own cleaning missions in the mountains and most importantly, make our trekkers count in it.
Previously this year, we had run special batches in support of the Green Trails initiative on three majorly popular trek routes which were extremely polluted at the end of the season, expectedly. Now, in the wake of winter treks beginning in full fledge, we are launching one Green Trails batch for each of our treks running from November to March, trusting them with additional responsibilities to free the mountains of spoilage.
Green Trails Batch Code of Duty
- Be vigilant on the trail to check any thoughtless disposal of waste. Ensure no wrongful dumping takes place on your guard.
- Carry one gunny sack each for every 5-7 people, pick up what you find on the way and trash in your respective gunny sack. Extra mules will be sent, so if a bag gets heavy it could be on-loaded.
- Form groups of 5-7 people on reaching campsite each day and scour the vicinity for waste.
- Dig compost pits where vegetable and human waste of biodegradable nature could be trashed.
- Equip appropriately for scouring water areas. Also, be prepared to continue the mission in snow.
- Participate in segregation of collected waste in separate gunny bags.
- Set out with an approach to educate the locals who might be practicing waste management wrongly, when you are staying in a village or interacting with the kitchen staff and mule men hired locally. To do this, your Trek Leader or Guide, who are more acquainted with the locals can help you.
- Engage in formulating and exchanging ideas and information about eco-friendly ways in the context of trekking, as per your experience and insight, and submit to our authority.
Some points for deliberation could be—
-Availability of biodegradable wet wipes/ sanitary pads or tampons,
– Chances of rain water harvesting in campsites,
-Scopes of recycling plastic goods in remote Himalayan villages, etc.
We would extremely appreciate it if you do some research on these concerns before or after the trek and help us with practical advice.
Our operation Green Trails to rid the mountain treks free of waste would be untenable without slight modifications in trekking logistics. Here is how we are going about it—
- A couple of extra mules (and helping hands) will be hired in every Green Trails batch. Instead of moving them ahead of the trekkers, as done usually, we will have them trotting with us with the gunny sacks in which wastes found on the trail could be trashed.
- If a few gunny sacks are full by the time we reach the mid-way camp, one mule could be sent back down to the nearest village where the trash bags could be stashed, while another mule is to come with us till summit and back with more on-loads of trash bags.
- End of the trek, the entire load of trash will be transported by us from the village to the nearest municipal waste management center.
This is a rough sketch for managing non-biodegradable good primarily. For managing kitchen waste, human waste, and other biodegradable things, we will try to make compost pits on-site with the help of the locals. However, the success of this is doubtful with the prospect of heavy snow in the winter.
Let’s see what happens.
p.s.- We will be happy to give you a 10% discount on your trek price if you are joining any of our Green Trails batches