The Himalayan Cleanup was held across the 12 mountain states mobilising 15,000 volunteers across 200 sites, sorting and recycling waste and raising awareness locally as well as amongst the travel, transport and tourism sectors.
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.
The Himalayan Cleanup’s waste audit revealed that the 5 biggest polluters in the IHR are Pepsi Co, Hindustan Coca Coca, Britannia Industries Pvt Ltd, Hindustan Unilever Limited and ITC Limited.