Gangtok, 04 Jun:
The Himalayan Cleanup that took place across 12 mountain States on 26 May has revealed that more than 95% of the trash collected during the cleanup was plastic waste.
Responding to the call of the Integrated Mountain Initiative [IMI] and Zero Waste Himalaya, 200-plus organizations, involving over 15,000 volunteers from across the 12 mountain states, stood in solidarity to organise over 300 events of The Himalayan Cleanup, a press release informs.
It may be mentioned here that the Himalayan Cleanup was organised to focus attention on the problem of waste in the mountains especifically that of single use plastic waste.
The Himalayas, long been portrayed as sacred, pristine and untouched, has a flip side too, of plastic clogged waterways, waste being rolled down hill sides and burnt, and this was what was intended to be revealed by the Himalayan Cleanup. Remote places in the mountains have serious issues of dealing with plastic waste that have no solutions.
At a presentation on 01 Jun at Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi during the session on Himalayan Ecosystem organised by the MoEF CC as part of World Environment Day, IMI and Zero Waste representatives, Priyadarshinee Shrestha and Roshan Rai, presented the findings of the cleanup campaign to an audience that consisted of Government officials, NGO members and other dignitaries.
They presented the details of information collated by number from 89 sites spread across 12 states that revealed that 97% of waste collected was plastic.
“Not a patch of ground is free of plastic waste was the most common expression across the cleanup sites in the 12 mountain States,” they stated.
Result of the waste audit organised as part of the cleanup provide insights to the consumption patterns as well as the type of waste being generated in the mountains. The top five polluters by number across the sites were multi layered plastic such as that of popular snack food items, PET bottles, single use plastic items, other plastic items and tetrapak packaged items.
Taking the question of who is responsible for the waste, the Himalayan Cleanup included a brand audit which was conducted in collaboration with Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives -GAIA’s national brand audit which has covered 10 cities in India. The brand audit reveals the top brands that are polluting our mountains and demands that the brands take responsibility for the waste through Extended Producer Responsibility mechanisms.