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Himachal Pradesh state which is bestowed by the mother nature with a number of panoramic hill stations and sites like Triund in the foot of Majestic Dhauladhar is facing the tourists or hikes menace littering them with plastics bottles, paper rags, polythene wrappers bags and other waste materials.
Waste Warriors founder Jodie Underhill a foreigner and popular among the people as Garbage Queen founded a Waste Warriors NGO along with the local and foreigner youths to sensitize the local, tourists, stakeholders and other engaged in the hospitality industry to clean such remote places by collecting the tourist garbage from the Triund and other places.
The NGO has now come up with the new innovate idea as Waste Management Station (WMS) project has been set up at Galu to promote the culture of putting the litter in the garbage bags under the financial assistance of Punjab National Bank as it came forward to bear the capital cost of the station. To promote this purely voluntary mission, Deputy Commissioner of Kangra Mr C.P. Verma commissioned and inaugurated the WMS at Galu on April 20,2017.
The waste station is brain child of Ms. Jodie Underhill to encourage hikers and tourists to bring their waste back down from the Triund instead of leaving it on the trail and at the mountain camp. Sharing the information with Himvani, Ms. Underhill claimed that informative signboards regarding waste management rules and hiking ethics or etiquette have been installed to protect the safety of tourists and preserve the environment as signboard is visible at Galu and at each tea stall (chai shop) and guest-house on the way to and at Triund.
Triund which is a small hill in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh established popular Triund Hill Station on up hill journey in Dharamkot in the foothills of the Dhauladhar ranges and is at a height of 2,828 m. Waste Warriors led by Underhill began this herculean task after starting garbage or waste collection from Triund back in April 2009. On the occasion of unveiling of WMS project she hoped that it go head on this project with collaboration with the Government. “When I started the Triund waste collection there were around 10,000 people each year visiting the camp and now we have 10,000 per month. We hope that the tourists appreciate our efforts towards protecting this beautiful area and utilize the Waste Station at Galu.”
“We are extremely grateful to PNB for covering our capital costs but urgently need funds to cover the operational costs. Despite the Chief Minister offering to help, nothing has been materialized as yet. We remain hopeful that the Government will find a way to assist us.” she said. Punjab National Bank would fund Rs two lakh capital cost of this project as it would go ahead with collaboration of NGO, District Administration, Forest and Police Department.
A tent has been erected at Galu and each tourist group will be given a garbage bag (rucksack style) and would be encouraged to keep their waste during the hike. On their arrival back to Galu they would be given assistance at the Waste Station to ensure they dispose off their waste in the right dustbins. This would ensure that a minimal amount of waste is left at Triund and the maximum amount of waste can be recycled.
Waste Warriors NGO has cleared such garbage from Triund and other places in tonnes. There are hardly any tourist stations in the State which is not facing similar apathy. The increasing footfall of more than 1.75 Cr tourists per annum in this hill state is littering its landscapes, dales and hills forcing the civic bodies to bear the burden of menace on the commoner. Constant damping of garbage is also littering the water streams as the rags of polythene plastic bottles and wrappers were ruining the beauty of landscapes and bloating the public places.