The campaign to free the rubbish from the Amarnath yatra is in full swing. The campaign to make the entire Yatra route zero waste under the authority of the Jammu-Kashmir Rural Development Department is showing its impact.
Jammu-Kashmir Rural Development Department along with IIT Indore start-up ‘SWAHA’ has launched this initiative which could serve as an example for the rest of the country.
This campaign will save the river, the hills, the vegetation and the entire ecosystem of the region. This is the first religious trip of its kind that would be litter-free.
The Jammu and Kashmir government makes sure that the pilgrimage does not impact or affect the environment. More than 300 volunteers have been assigned to collect and treat the waste produced on the different routes.
Every day around 10 tons of waste is produced along the Amarnath Yatra route from both base camps. And this time, the government has made sure that the waste is processed on the spot. The Sanitation Directorate, Department of Rural Development with IIT Indore start-up ‘SWAHA’ have launched this initiative which could serve as an example for the rest of the country.
The J&K Government is expecting an influx of pilgrims of 8 Lakh and has already said no to single-use plastic and disposable materials at the Amarnath Yatra as a precautionary measure. What Swaaha intends to do is called Landfill Event Zero, which takes it one step further. Here, all the waste generated will be recycled instead of being conventionally buried underground. It should be noted that the recycled waste will be segregated and used for the production of organic fertilizer, which will be offered to travellers as a gift.
Swaha volunteers have already started installing waste management machines and equipment. Volunteers will take on various stations and responsibilities along the Yatra route and will collect waste generated from base camps, langars, Bhandara and other activities. The Swaha team and their volunteers will be deployed until the end of the Yatra on August 11.
Startup IIT Swaaha is working on waste management strategies in nine cities and has set about installing solar concentrators in a bid to make Yatra’s smoke accessible. These concentrators are an effective setup for cooking and heating without the use of traditional fuels and energy, reducing the pollution rate remarkably.
Swaha’s Sameer Sharma speaking to Groundreport.in that garbage of any kind will not be allowed to sit idle on the ground. Every part of the waste will be recycled. The compost made with this waste will be useful for travellers and the local council.
“It is a very unique type of program, the first time in India that a particular religious event that is also large in scale is organized in such a way that it becomes a zero-landfill event and a sustainable one. So due to the help and steps taken by the Kashmir department of rural development, we have been given the responsibility as a new company, we are from Indore, and it is called SWAHA we make this yatra landfill zero and one sustainable,” said Sameer Sharma, Director SWAHA.
More than 12 processing units have been placed along the route. Organic waste is composted and inorganic waste is separated and sent to recycling units. “Whatever waste is generated in this yatra, it needs to be treated very scientifically, we have been collecting the waste, we have to process and dispose of it. It will be a great reference point for all these events across the country.” Sameer said.
Since the passengers were unaware and unprepared for such a campaign, Swaha volunteers are guiding the pilgrims from the base camp itself. Do not carry, use and throw raincoats, plastic bags, spoons, etc. Even if for some reason these things are tipping over, don’t throw them into the mountain.
Dheeraj from Pathankot, who completed the Amarnath Yatra again this year after 2007, says that this time the cleansing is visible. Volunteers are visible along the way. The people of Langar (community food) are also aware and helping. Dheeraj’s partner, Kapil, believes that such cleaning should also be done in Kedarnath, Badrinath.
This is a very good initiative or else future generations will not be able to have Darshan of Baba Amarnath.
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