The Himalayan Cleanup, India

Integrated Mountain Initiative’s vision of ‘Making the people of India proud of our mountains” aims to focus attention on India’s Himalayan Regions (IHR) to mainstream the concept of Sustainable mountain development into the administrative planning concept of IHR.

 
High Altitude Clean Up
High Altitude Clean Up

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The Project

The Indian Himalaya is part of a global biodiversity hotspot with a high percentage of protected and community conserved areas, as well as being an important source of water for millions of people. Due to ever-increasing tourist footfall and changing consumption patterns, plastics have entered the remotest mountain environments where the terrain makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible to retrieve and/or dispose of plastic waste. Lack of awareness leads to burning of waste, dumping down hillsides or into streams and rivers.   Wildlife including red pandas and black bears consume plastic through food left in plastic packaging. In 2018, a Himalayan Cleanup across the 12 mountain states mobilised 15,000 volunteers across 200 sites, sorting and recycling waste and making ecobricks from non recyclable plastics.  This project will run the Cleanup day again, alongside other community clean up events raising awareness locally as well as amongst the travel, transport and tourism sectors. A workshop will be held with government and CSO stakeholders to discuss sustainable waste management strategies and keeping key habitats clean, underpinned by results from a waste audit.
 
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We are hugely grateful for the support of the European Outdoor Conservation Association, without whose support we could never have realised such an ambitious project.
Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage