Waste Management in the Mountains

 

MOTIVATION

As a Knowledge Enterprise based in the Dhauladhar mountains, it is our responsibility to ensure that our unique environment is kept as clean as possible. Waste Management initiatives is a key action to that end. Dhauladhar Cleaners is a group of volunteers based in Dharamshala (District Kangra, Himachal Pradesh). Since June 2019, we have endeavored to do our bit in keeping the mountains clean and enjoyable. Our process is very much akin to the Open Source Software model that we are very inclusive and ensure that there is a core set of guidelines.

VALUES

Through open community efforts, make a free process of collaboration and sharing to pro-actively solve environmental issues. The core principles of waste management being Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

TEAM

We currently have 115 volunteer members including 6 core members.

PROCESS


Volunteers come together weekly on Sunday mornings in East Home Library of Indru Nag region. They execute clean-up drives.
Each Volunteer is given gloves and a bag.
The collection approach is based on segregation ie separation of glass bottles, broken glass, plastic, wrappers, tin and miscellaneous items.
It is an open, community driven programme. Through social connections and free-flowing work culture, synergies are created. This produces efficient, productive and satisfying work.
This is very much akin to the Open Source Software model, in that we are inclusive and ensure a core set of guidelines.

LOCATION


Indru Nag region of Dharamshala is the location of the ancient Indru Nag Temple. Since 2010, it has become a major paragliding destination. This has resulted in an influx of tourism. The tourism has brought in waste issues of its own - party litter and hotel disposals. The waste issues has created sub-optimal environment in the hills. If this is not addressed pro-actively, the effects could be irreversible.

waste_management

 

 

ACHIEVEMENTS

Phase 1


Over 3 weekends, 140 volunteers have contributed 420 person hours to collect and segregate 600 kilogrames of waste in Indru Nag region and plant 100 saplings planted in Chilgari region.

Phase 2

Over 4 weekends, 170 volunteers have contributed 480 person hours to collect and segregate 700 kgs of waste in Indru Nag region.

Phase 3

Over 3 weekends, 75 volunteers, 150 person hours to collect and segregate 300 kgs of waste in Indru Nag region.

Current Phase 4

Weekend average of 20 vounteers, 40 person-hours, 100 kgs of waste collected and segregated in Indru Nag region.

We have also participated in the Swach Bharat Mission programmes in Bharmour, Chamba district where 9 volunteers participated in the clean up drive in Bharmani Mata Temple.

We hope to continue this work on the core principles of waste management - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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Comments

Mountains play an essential role in supplying water, energy, food and other services to millions of
people living in the mountains and downstream. Ensuring the continued supply of these services
has never been more important. However, many mountain regions are experiencing a growing solid
waste problem, from ever-expanding urban sprawls and cities, increasing consumption patterns,
existing and past mining operations, tourism activities and practises of illegal dumping. Steepness,
remoteness, prevailing socio-economic conditions, and vulnerability to natural hazards, makes
waste management in mountains more challenging than in lowland areas. Gravity and river flow
can also enlarge the footprint of mountain waste to a thousand kilometres or more downstream -
and even right into the ocean.
The take-home message is that the inadequate treatment or disposal of waste in mountains not only
creates risks for ecosystems and human health in mountain regions, but also for downstream areas. It
is truly an issue of global concern. The good news is that there are many options available to prevent chain link
and manage waste in mountain environments, in ways that protect mountain ecosystems and people,
and prevent problems from migrating downstream. This report highlights both the challenges and
the solutions for good waste management in mountain regions.

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