Monday, November 22, 2010

Green Hiker reaches Dodital & Uttarkashi

After having launched the Green Hiker campaign in the fifth Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in late September 2010, WWF-India took its first step towards high altitude wetland conservation in the state, by participating in a clean-up drive for Dodital Lake and its trekking route, during November 8-10, 2010.

Dodital is a freshwater lake situated at 3,057 m asl and surrounded by thick forests of oak, fir and rhododendron. It is inhabited by the Golden Trout (called Dodi in the local language), giving the lake its name. Dodital is a 22 km trek from Sangamchatti, which is 20 km from the district headquarters in Uttarkashi.

The clean-up drive was jointly organised and conducted by The Shikhar Eco Foundation, the Uttarakhand Forest Department, WWF-India and the Agora village community. It was the first organised effort to clean up this high altitude lake of religious significance. During this expedition, 25 sacks of non-biodegradable waste were collected, which were then brought to Sangamchatti for segregation and recycling.

According to Dr. Sanjeev Sharma, WWF-India Shimla State Office who was an active participant, “The waste included glass bottles, mineral water bottles, tin cans and polythene and mostly gutka (chewable tobacco) packets. Out of the 25 sacks, 15 were collected from around Dodital, five from the camping site at Majhi and the rest from Bebra and Agora villages.”

Besides this, on November 10, 2010 an awareness programme was organised at Junior High School in Agora Village, where 50 students from Class VIII and teachers were spoken to about various environmental issues. A lecture on high altitude wetland conservation and waste management was also delivered to them. This was followed by a rally and clean-up of Agora village by the students, at the end of which four sacks of waste were collected. Educational resource material was also handed out to the school, including Green Hiker posters in Hindi. There was interaction with the local community as well.

To further the cause of wetland conservation in Uttarakhand after the clean-up drive at Dodital Lake, WWF-India organised an interactive workshop for local tour operators and other stakeholders in Uttarkashi.

The primary objective of this workshop was to introduce WWF’s Saving Wetlands Sky-High!’ (SWSH) initiative to the participants, and to highlight the Green Hiker campaign and its relevance to the region of Uttarkashi, which has several high altitude wetlands. Moreover, it was intended to bring together local stakeholders – tour operators, hoteliers, local communities, educational institutions, local NGOs and the Forest and Tourism government departments, to lay the foundation for collective conservation action in the future.
The workshop concluded with the formation of a working group post an intensive discussion on environmental threats to the high altitude lakes in the region and possible solutions that can be implemented together.

These initiatives have drawn attention to the importance of wetlands and the need to keep them litter-free and pure. It has also helped raise awareness about WWF and its conservation work under the Saving Wetlands Sky-High! Initiative and the Green Hiker campaign, apart from the role and responsibility of tourists, tour operators and other local stakeholders towards caring for the fragile Himalayan ecosystem.


  1. it feels great always to hear such news.

  2. thanks... lets the journey begins with a new dimensions for a better place to live in.

  3. Very appreciating & applauding step taken by the team. We should also make local groups in the nearby areas who can do the activities of cleaning the beautiful places. This can be supported by providing them some rewards.

  4. Good work,let people know that there is something wrong happening within their surroundings and they will be the sufferers in times to come.Kudos 'Green Hiker.'

  5. You deserve kudos!How do we include a group of business school students in it?

  6. Great Initiative! Apart of appreciation and awareness programme how do we actively involve the young future leaders /business school students to let them emerge as empathetic & informed leaders of tomorrow?