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Guardian of Himalayas 

ISP Delhi Bureau 

What do you do when you see something going wrong? Comment on it and move away? Pradeep and his friends were also faced with the same situation when they saw popular tourist spots in the Himalayas littered with garbage and the mountains looking helpless. They decided not to just comment but to act. They decided to clean the garbage on their own and also work towards building awareness. With their small army of volunteers, Pradeep Sangwan’s team called the Healing Himalayas have today become the guardians of the Himalayan beauty by taking up cleaning drives. 

Pradeep Sangwan, who hails from Delhi, loves mountains and he is a regular visitor to various peaks but his heart always pained to see the Himalayan ranges littered by garbage thrown away by the visitors. He founded the team called Healing Himalayas seven years ago which is a group of like minded youngsters who are working to clean the Himalayas and to restore their spotless beauty by wiping man-made litter off the face and the foot of these mountains.

It all started when he went for a trek with his friend from Chandratal to Spiti in 2016. They trekked for considerable distance near Chandratal which showcases a diverse landscape ranging from very scenic to bare, cold desert. They could not meet any trekker in the 25 km distance except for shepherds at different locations. He befriended them and spent time with the herding shepherds. He was so impressed with their raw knowledge that he decided to stay with them and learn sustainable living. 

Pradeep understood after spreading time with the shepherds that it was crucial to share those learnings with the rest of the world. He knew that the sustainability skills he learned from the shepherds of Himalayas could change the face of trekking and travelling for the better. That’s how the Healing Himalayas community was formed. The community promotes the Himalayas and its true spirit which teaches to give and share respect and love. 

The campaigns organised by the Healing Himalayas teams are  focused on trekking and travelling for a purpose. It aims for education through ground action. It teaches for the knowledge to be shared and put into use. They work around treks such as Kheerganga, Shrikhand Mahadev Yatra, and Prashar Rishi Lake, where the footfall is very heavy and the amount of solid waste generated is  very high. Engaging with the local communities is another important activity of the Healing Himalayas group.The garbage they collect mainly consists of packing materials, PET bottles, and glass bottles. Collecting broken glass bottles is another challenge which the group face. So far Healing Himalayas have collected about 7 lakh kgs of non-biodegradable waste. 

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