For the love of Mountains..
After the success of Ecopurple’s first clean-up trek at Mt. Kalsubai, this time, we found ourselves on the mighty fort of Harihar in Nasik.
It was Ecopurple’s second clean-up trek under the initiative: ‘Trek for Nature’. Teaming up with the Trekker Warrior Organization, and having Sahyadri Rangers as our trekking partners, 9 of us hit the road on 20th March 2021 (a night prior).
On reaching the base village the next day (3:00 am), we devoured the ultimate breakfast of trekkers – Poha! More often than not, it is always one of the village households that provide such meals for the trekkers. And in doing so, they also hand out disposable cutleries. So, as we finished our meal, we made sure to collect those paper plates and plastic spoons in our trash bag. Therefore, kickstarting our clean-up drive.
Under a starry sky, as we made our way up through the foliage, we found very few hints of trash, wondering whether we chose the wrong location. But it wasn’t until the light poured in and we realized the scenario is the complete opposite!
Getting Started with the Clean-up Trek
By the time we reached the top, the morning hues begin to light up the place. It was all nice and bright and so was the very noticeable trash!
With our green bags and purple gloves, we fanned out and began with our drive. We found almost all kinds of trash; there were flip-flops, plastic bottles, wrappers, wet wipes, tobacco sachets, plastic straws, single-use bags, some metal, etc. Indisputably, we did not doubt the choice of location anymore. The sad part was, we were just 9, compared to our previous clean-up trek where we had over 20 participants. Also, most of the waste was in places inaccessible to us; this was saddening, and we could not do anything about it. Yet, we did manage to create some much-needed awareness.
As we were busy cleaning up the irresponsible mess, the people around were cheering, applauding, and even thanking us. Some even asked us for bags to collect trash themselves; that was the best form of appreciation. Instead of all the cheering, when people get involved, that is one of the best acknowledgments of your work. You know you made an impact when people around you get influenced to do their rightful duty. You’ve made a difference, and this makes your efforts worthwhile.
But What Happened to the Trash? What did we do with it?
While we trekked back to the base village, our green bags drew a lot of attention. It was clear that our intent to spread awareness against irresponsible trekking was pretty successful. But this wasn’t all. Our clean-up trek isn’t just about picking up trash, it is also about diverting that waste to a responsible destination. And we ensure this by sending the trash for recycling, thanks to the folks at Sangam Pratishthan. We brought all our trash bags back to the city and donated them to Sangam Pratishthan, a waste management NGO. This simple gesture helps us to end our clean-up trek on a responsible note, for we did not let our efforts go in vain – in a landfill!
- It is visible that the amount of waste collected was not enough; this is where the lack of volunteers affected us. We could’ve collected a lot more had there been more volunteers. This factor did affect the impact we could’ve made, the waste we could’ve collected. Yet, the low participation did not in anyway demotivate us. That’s because the energy is a whole lot different when you work together as a team. The enthusiasm does nothing but fuel the motivation.
- It’s a grateful feeling for all the support Ecopurple receives for such a noble cause. While we appreciate the acknowledgment, this is not something we desire. We aim for your participation. We count on responsible people such as you taking a stand, taking action.
- Almost always, we overlook our mountains when it comes to arranging a cleaning drive. Since most authorities do not reach there, the villagers tend to burn the waste they both create and stumble upon. There are very few communities taking up the initiative, and we need to change that.
- Let’s do our best to make that change happen and drive waste away from our beautiful nature. Let’s trek for nature, one mountain at a time!