‘Healing the Himalayas’: Prime Minister Modi praises Pradeep Sangwan’s campaign
Haryanvi youth Pradeep Sangwan’s campaign to remove plastic waste from different areas of the Himalayas on Sunday received praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The 35-year-old man who hails from Gurgaon is a mountaineer based in Himachal Pradesh and established the ‘Himalayan Healing Foundation’ four years ago. Sangwan, along with a team of volunteers, cleans up tons of plastic and other debris left behind by tourists each year.
On his last broadcast of the year ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Modi, while talking about new resolutions for the new year, said that there are some people who continually keep doing something new and keep discovering new resolutions.
“You must also have felt in your life that when you do something for society, society itself gives us the energy to do much more. Normal sources of inspiration can accomplish great tasks. One of those young people is Pradeep Sangwan, ”he said.
He said that Sangwan has been running a campaign called ‘Himalayan Healing’ since 2016, as part of which he and his team go to different areas of the Himalayas and clean up the garbage left by tourists.
“So far, Pradeep has cleaned up tons of plastic waste from different places in the Himalayas,” Modi said while praising Sangwan’s initiative.
Sangwan later told PTI: “It is very inspiring that the prime minister recognizes the small efforts of people like me. I thank you for bringing the work we are doing to protect our environment to the national attention. It will definitely act as a great motivation. ”Sharing details of how he launched his campaign, Sangwan said his father was in the military and that he wanted him to become a defense force officer. However, fate took a turn. different when he could not clear the interview to join the Army.
While graduating from DAV University in Chandigarh, he came into contact with some friends from Himachal Pradesh with whom he began exploring the Himalayas in 2007-08.
“I moved to Himachal in 2009, where for the next five years I did extensive trips, hikes, etc. I met a group of people from the ‘gaddi’ (herdsmen) community in Lahaul when we were hiking from Chandra Taal Lake to Suraj Tal Lake, ”he said.
Sangwan said that he, along with a friend, spent 3-4 days with the members of this community and was very impressed with how, even in a very remote area, they cared so much about their environment.
He said his foundation’s projects, which are supported by voluntary donations, are focused on cleaning campaigns, waste management and other activities in the rural Himalayan region.
Every year in December, Sangwan says he designs a calendar for the following year where volunteers can line up their trips accordingly.
“While we go up for a walk, we collect all the garbage. We mainly find plastic bottles, plastic waste from multilayer packaging, and then we store it in a place on the road. While we return, we take him to the base village and transport him to the nearest facility. In the process, we mainly involve our volunteers, ”he said.
“I remember that during a walk to Kheer Ganga in Kullu district in two days we got 10,000 plastic PET bottles.
“Another sad thing we find is that many people recklessly throw away beer and other glass bottles or break them after drinking. We also encountered cases where the cows were unable to move because a piece of glass got stuck in their hoof and left them in great pain, ”he said.
Sangwan emphasized working at the community level for better waste management results in the Himalayan region. “My focus continues to be the rural Himalayan region. We mainly work in the Kullu, Shimla, Mandi and Kinnaur districts, ”he said.
His foundation has now established a first waste collection unit, which will soon be operational, in a village called Rakcham near Chitkul in the Kullu district, while the second will arrive near the Kheer Ganga base camp. The third and fourth will arrive at Lahaul, where the Atal tunnel has emerged, which is witnessing a lot of tourist activity.
He regretted that in his campaign social networks have acted as a powerful tool and more and even movie stars like Randeep Hooda, who is from Haryana, have supported and appreciated his cause.