Spectrum: Keeping Charmadi Ghat plastic-free

Dinesh Holla and his team of young trekkers have initiated a campaign to clear trekking spots of plastic waste.

As the saying goes, humans desire for a place where nature remains untouched. However, it is this very craving, without a sense of responsibility, that has caused all the trouble. Western Ghats has several trekking spots and scores of adventure enthusiasts visit these places every week. It is common to see people dumping waste — leftovers, plastic bottles, carry bags, etc — in the forests. 

Plastic waste that remains scattered at trekking spots not only ruins the beauty of the place but also harms wildlife. “Even a tiny piece of plastic can block the source of a river. The extent of harm caused by plastic waste within deep forests is unmeasured yet,” he adds. Having seen the negative impacts of plastic on natural resources and wildlife, Dinesh Holla, an environmentalist, and his team of environment enthusiasts initiated a campaign in 2014 to remove non-biodegradable waste from the trekking sites of Charmadi Ghat area. Their campaign is called ‘Paschima Ghatta Swacchata Abhiyana’. 

Dinesh recalls an instance that triggered this effort, “A few years ago, we saw a stag that ran through the trekking path in Devaramane Hill of Mudigere taluk, leaving behind a trail of blood. We discovered a piece of glass stung on the stag’s foot.” That was when they made up their mind to address the issue systematically. They have organised 13 events in the region so far, in collaboration with local people. In the process, they have collected a huge quantity of waste, mainly plastic. Other trekking teams and civil society organisations followed suit. This year, Dinesh and his team are planning to organise waste collection drive after the monsoons. They invite enthusiasts to take part in the drive.

Dinesh specifies that government agencies have not responded positively to the petitions submitted by his team to make Charmadi Ghat a plastic-free destination. His team members have shouldered the responsibility, and taken extensive care to ensure that trekking teams do not leave behind any trace in the forests, while also making every effort to create awareness. 

Dinesh has led several treks and expeditions, and every time, he ensures that the team takes the pledge to keep nature free of plastic. Such conscious and consistent efforts, when replicated, can help keep one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots free of the world’s biggest pollutant.

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Spectrum: Keeping Charmadi Ghat plastic-free


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