The Uttarakhand Forest, Government of Uttarakhand; Uttarakhand Environment Protection & Pollution Control Board(UEPPCB); and Dehra Dun-based think tank SDC Foundation are jointly organizing and celebrating the forthcoming World Environment Day (WED) in Uttarakhand. The theme for this year’s WED is #BeatPlasticPollution, and India is the host country for the same.

The first initiative in the series being organized for WED is The Himalayan Cleanup (THC) around Company Garden, Mussoorie, which is one of the most popular tourist spots in the hill town, on Saturday, May 26, 2018. The cleanup focused on the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility, which places the onus on manufacturers to take responsibility of the plastic generated during the entire lifecycle of the product. This is also an important element of the Plastic Waste Management Rule 2016. The Himalayan Cleanup is a drive being organized across the 10 mountain states of India, on a single day, with an aim to bring the issue of plastic waste to the forefront, and also to understand what is in our waste through a waste and brand audit.

The brand audit conducted by SDC showed some interesting findings. More than 50% of the trash along the tourist centric hillside was plastic. Multiplayer plastic from brands such as PepsiCo India’s Lay’s, Nestlé EveryDay’s MAGGI, ParleAgro’s Frooti and Appy Tetrapacks made up the top three majority of the plastic waste. Other brands that made their presence known in the plastic brand audit significantly included Vadilal Icecreams and Amul ice-cream wrappers, Britannia and Parle-G biscuit packs, and Haldirams.

Gutkha – chewing tobacco – made a big part of the sample size. The brand called Dilbag was everywhere to be seen. Sanitary waste such as used diapers and cotton were also present. The need for proper disposal of biomedical waste was also seen since there was a considerable amount of used, half-used blister packs of pills, syrups, and medicines as well.

It was interesting to see that plastic bottles were relatively a smaller fraction of the waste. That is not because bottled water is not consumed, but because ragpickers pick them up to be sold and recycled.

#HimalayanCleanup #Care4Environment #BrandAudit

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