Kasol Cleanup Drive

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Kasol Cleanup Drive

Postby aashish2137 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:56 pm

With the launch and successful implementation of DoW Causes across Himalayan villages, we have decided to go a step further and conduct a garbage cleanup drive in one of most beautiful hamlets of Himachal, Kasol. Kasol, 75kms away from Manali, lies in the Parvati Valley of Himachal Pradesh, nestled between Pin Parvati ranges on one side and the mighty Beas river on the other. Parvati river, a tributary to Beas, also passes through Kasol town.

For years we have learnt that Kasol is a mini Israel for its cannabis production and foreigner settlement. But that is not what Kasol is all about. A calm little Himalayan town, Kasol gets its Unique Selling Point from towering hills covering this town, the ferocious yet forgiving Parvati river and abundance of multi-cuisine restaurants. On an average day in Kasol, you will find numerous German bakery and cafes serving multi cuisines, shops selling innovative caps, jewellery and tshirts, firangs and hippies strolling about around the streets and much much more. That is how we have seen Kasol since always.

Recently a fellow Devil visited Kasol and pointed out the increasing amount of garbage on roads and on Parvati river's banks. The garbage, as rightly pointed out, is all man made, that is, plastic bottles, wrappers, empty wafer bags, tetra packs, cardboards, etc. To give you a general idea about the extent of garbage collection that has occurred in Kasol overtime, here are some pictures:

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Bridge - right
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Bridge - left
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Main streets
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Trekking path to Chhalal
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Trekking path to Chhalal
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Bridge - road
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This gave us the idea of conducting a cleanup drive in Kasol to remove the existing garbage on the roads and shore and along with the local community, identify and establish a system of waste management in the town. Along with the support of fellow Devils, we have made certain preparations for this drive.

This thread is primarily to share the details with you so that everyone is able to plan the event better and suggest their inputs towards the same.

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Kasol cleanup drive poster 2
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Kasol cleanup drive poster 2
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Some FAQs regarding this event:

Q. What is this event all about? What is DoW up to?
As discussed above, DoW volunteers, along with local administration is planning to cleanup the streets and river banks of Kasol and neighbouring area.

Q. Why should I be bothered about it?
As a traveler, you should be bothered about the shifting ecology of Himalayan villages and towns. We at DoW believe that every traveler must give back to the community that gives them so much joy and memories. This Cleanup Drive event is a fantastic opportunity for every traveler to do his bit, meet new kickass awesome travelers and explore Parvati valley.

Q. This is nothing new. Even if we clean the streets, they will litter it again. It's never going to change!
It will. We have the Kasol panchayat pradhan, hotel association president, mahela morcha pradhan and school headmasters, other than hundreds of locals, with us on this Cause. The administration people mentioned above have assured that they are working on cleanliness part too and once the streets are clean, they ensure a penalty for anyone caught littering. We have also tried to put in place a system of proper collection and disposal on daily basis. The event is only a start for a long term solution.

So basically, you are asking me to clean someone else's garbage?
Yes, and no. It is not only you but locals too who will join you and do their part. You are being the reason for a change, if I must put it in an encouraging manner.

Q. That sounds cool. When and where will this happen?
The cleanup drive will be conducted on the morning of 22nd June, Sunday. The drive will begin at Kasol town but you will be divided among teams, so you could be helping the volunteers in nearby villages too.

Q. This totally rocks. I want to join in. What do I need to do?
You are open to choose your accommodation, mode of travel and schedule. DoW ofcourse is here to help you figure out the options. Other than that, all we expect you is to stay in touch with us and be present at the cleanup drive.

DoW can also arrange for your accommodation through its friends in Kasol. We have identified a camping site in Chhalal village near Kasol where we can book your accommodation in the form of:
- Your own tents pitched up at the camping site; or
- Tents provided by the camping company.

DoW can also help you get in touch with other travelers so you can car pool with them or find partners to share the cost of your travel.

Lastly, DoW can also help you plan your travel before and after the drive and find you partners for the same.

Q. I have no idea where to go in Kasol. I want to join the DoW group. How do I confirm my presence and book my accommodation?
Good to hear you're aboard with this. All you need to do is fill this form and we'll take care of the rest as per your confirmation:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1LPM2aQ ... 4/viewform

Q. Umm.. Your plan sounds cool, but how much will all of this cost?
Trust us, no cost will be worth the gratitude of cleaning a beautiful Himalayan town and the respect and admiration of your fellow travelers and local community.

Having said that, your costs will be very very economical. The travel costs will depend upon your mode of travel. A good approximate of to and fro cost of Delhi - Kasol should be INR 2,500. This cost can come down if you choose to travel in Ordinary bus or have multiple people traveling in your car.

Your accommodation cost will be 200-500 depending upon the option you choose, and a similar amount for your meals.

Other than this, your costs will include a voluntary contribution for materials purchased for the cleaning (brooms, dust bins, gloves etc). This contribution will be based on the total costs/ total volunteers and will not exceed Rs. 500 per person.

So putting this together, the total cost of the event should be in the range of Rs. 3000 - 4000 per person.

Q. That's quite cheap. Are you sure this will work?
These are our best estimates based on our experience and information. DoW doesn't have any tie up with any commercial organization, so all cost estimates are as it is. Having said that, it will be prudent to expect a 15% variation in cost estimates.

Q. Wait wait wait.. What is your exact plan again?
The plan followed by most of our members is:

Day 0 (Friday, 20th June) - Leave from Delhi, travel to Kasol overnight
Day 1 (Saturday, 21st June) - Arrive by early noon, freshen up, explore Kasol town and market. Visit Manikaran Sahib gurudwara. Bonfire at camp in evening.
Day 2 (Sunday, 22nd June) - Carry out the cleanup drive until noon. Lunch and rest. People who need to join their office on Monday will leave post lunch. Others will stay.
Day 3 (Monday, 23rd June) - Explore nearby villages like Rashol, Tosh etc. These villages can be reached on Sunday too and an overnight stay can be managed. Leave for Delhi by evening / overnight.

Q. What is Tosh? Rashol? I'm losing you here, mate!
Here, refer this map for a better understanding:
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Parvati valley map
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Q. This place is near Manali and Manikaran, but I'm not sure what will be the exact route. Can you help?
The standard route for reaching Kasol is: Delhi - Chandigarh - Ropar - Kiratpur - Swarghat - Bilaspur - Mandi - Pandoh - Aut - Bhunter - (right turn from Bhunter) - Kasol. From Bhunter, if you go straight you will reach Manali.

There is an alternate route which was reviewed by Dheeraj. You can reach about it here. This route is better in terms of road quality, however takes 1-2 hours more than the above route.

Q. I am not keen on taking my vehicle. Can I travel by public transport?
People preferring public transport can book a bus of their choice. However, the route is very popular and the buses fill up fast. Please make sure you have advance bookings.
There are 3 options for buses:
HRTC (Himachal Road Transport) - http://www.hrtc.gov.in/hrtctickets/
HPTDC (Himachal Tourism) - http://hp.gov.in/hptdc/Availability.aspx
Private buses (Redbus) - http://www.redbus.in

From Delhi you'll have to book any bus going to Manali and get down at Bhuntar where the route for Kasol leaves the national highway to Manali and turns right. From Bhuntar you will have to find a local bus or shared taxi for Kasol. Buses generally take 14 hours for Delhi to Bhunter and 2 hours for Bhunter to Kasol. Please make your bookings well in advance to avoid an untoward situation later.

Q. And how do I get a vacant seat in one of the devil's car?
Please fill the form, mention that you are looking for travel partners and we'll arrange them for you. Since we are left with only 4 days now, best if you can communicate with us at the earliest and book a bus ticket as a backup.

Q. Ummm.. you seen to have explained things quite nicely, but I'm still confused.
Don't worry. Drop the admin, or any of the moderators a private message, they will immediately get back to you and get you on-board with us. See you there!
Last edited by dheerajsharma14 on Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: corrected broken link
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Re: Kasol Cleanup Drive

Postby NonStopDriver » Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:43 pm

Aashish, that's some explanation! I'm sure people won't have even an iota of confusion after having gone through the FAQs.

Thank you! :)
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Re: Kasol Cleanup Drive

Postby dheerajsharma14 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:33 pm

Updated the thread with the plan.

Thanks Aashish for putting it up here and you can post your pictures too in this thread that you took on the Recce this weekend and ofcourse some other pictures too worth showing to the world, what else Kasol is meant to be :D
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Re: Kasol Cleanup Drive - Trip report

Postby NonStopDriver » Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:34 pm

Kasol is known as mini-Israel of India, owing to large aggregation of tourists from Israel who spend months on months there, soaking in the nature and inhaling (you know what Kasol, Tosh and Malana are famous for). While last month couple of our friends from DoW went, they were appalled by the situation of non-biodegradable waste, being dumped directly into the Parvati River which originates just 58 Kms away from Man Talai Glacier below the Pin Parvati pass. This was when we decided to do something and got into organizing something.
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Litter everywhere
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Litter everywhere
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Litter everywhere
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With 30 odd participants, this trip was especially for creating an awareness against littering and non-biodegradable waste in Kasol.

On reaching the camp, the morals went down on learning that the Pradhan had to leave the town the night before due to other commitments and no local support would be there, but of course for the camp owner - Om Negi. The morning also, it was raining quite a lot and our initial plan of going to the town early morning to try to talk and mobilize locals couldn't materialize. Finally, the rains receded a bit around 09:15 and this is when we finally decided to go ahead with the drive, though on a reduced scale, with or without local support! So we all gathered and marched forward.
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Deciding to go ahead
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Let's go
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We decided to clean the trail from Kasol leading to Chalal till the bridge, which being on the hind-side of the market, had become a sort of dumping ground. The rains didn't stopped and intermittently became intense. Not even thinking about it, the Devils as we are, cleaned the entire trail! The high point of the drive was when two persons, smoking and littering were watching us cleaning the area. Suddenly they both got up and started picking up the litter spread by them as well as that in the surrounding. When we asked them to use gloves, they denied stating that they'd go away in 5 minutes and just wanted to undo what they had just done! So the drive is making impact! :)
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Getting the "equipments"
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Cleaning the trail
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Cleaning the trail
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Cleaning the trail
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Cleaning the trail
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Looking at the changed look of the trail, we all discussed further, and it was decided to move ahead and clean the market area too. So we formed groups and started in all three directions, cleaning all the while also talking to the shopkeepers.
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Trail done, lets move to the market
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Cleaning the streets
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Cleaning the streets
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Around 13:00, we were through with the entire market too and assembled to have tea/snacks, when some local ladies of the Mahila Mandal too gathered and joined the drive.
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Mahila Mandal ladies, joining the drive
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We then collected all the garbage at one place and were thinking about hiring a tempo to dump it at a proper dumping ground when the ladies advised us to let it remain there, as it was already packed, and that they'll discuss the disposal in their meeting that was already scheduled for Tuesday. In fact some of the ladies were adamant to put the entire garbage in front of the Pradhan's house, which we had to advise against! :lol: :lol:
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Collected garbage
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Collected garbage
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Although it was raining on Sunday, we went ahead with the drive and cleaned almost entire Kasol. The results were lot better than what we expected and the next day we was every shop with a cardboard carton placed to collect the waste. And the trail? Just have a look :)
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The trail, next day :)
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Overall, a very satisfying event! :)
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Re: Kasol Cleanup Drive

Postby aashish2137 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:21 pm

This is amazing. The last picture and the story about those 2 guys gave me goosebumps. I saw this trail behind the market the weekend before the drive and man, what a changeover it has had.

Kudos to the Devils to brave the rain and lack of support to get through with the drive. I'm sure this is only the start of many such events where DoW will mobilise travelers to return their bit to the mother nature.

PS: not to forget the offline measures taken by the DoW members to ensure a self sustaining system is evolved in the town so that the litter problem is solved forever (am sure it has already started with the shopkeepers & locals being aware and willing to contribute to maintain it)
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Re: Kasol Cleanup Drive

Postby jai744 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:18 am

Hi guys ,

I always wanted to be part of these type of event. Please let me know if you organise something in December as I coming for 1 month to visit my family. .love to be part of these sort of events

Big thumbs up you guys
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Re: Kasol Cleanup Drive

Postby saurabhsabikhi » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:35 am

Kudos to the team. A great great great effort which will go a long way. Not just in Kasol. But throughout the himalayas.

<salutes>
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Re: Kasol Cleanup Drive

Postby manish kandpal » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:50 am

Wow....Gr8 task done ... :) many congratulations to all the members who participated in this task, will surely try to join such cause next time.
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Re: Kasol Cleanup Drive

Postby sany » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:58 am

It was really a feel of achievement, when we turned back after 4 long hours of cleaning and educating the locals to keep bins (atleast cardboard boxes) outside their shops. What i saw was 10-12 full sacks of plastics/wrappers/bottles and what not. The whole path looked SPRING FRESH marked with boundaries after the collective effort of devils. Though it was a very little effort as the hotels have turned the whole river side into a huge dumping ground which can not be cleared without having support from administration. Hope the administration sooner learns from this and takes serious step to protect this beautiful town from being spoiled.

The whole belt is devoid of any dumping/clearing mechanism, they dont even have proper bins installed in town, they don't even have municipality vehicles coming to take the garbage. Lets hope our actions have ring some bell and administration concerned will take some note of it.

Neeraj Sir:- Glad you took the initiative to write to them, please follow it and lets make our efforts count.

Ashish & DJ:- wonderful thought and back ground work. Without you two it wouldnot have been possible.

Dheeraj:- Glad you gave us platform like DOW to spread such messages to like minded travelers and making things happen.

Jai744:- dude you dont need to wait for us, you can spread the message to your fellow colleagues/friends to do their bit everytime they are with our beloved mountains to keep it clean, to not litter. However we shall keep more threads like this to come up and announce events on DOW platform. So keep an active eye around

LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST:- ALL FELLOW DEVILS, who took out time from their busy schedule to come so far from delhi and many other places to participate and share our vision & love for the himalayas.....HATS OFF
The traveler has only one thing on mind.................NOTHING! Keep Going without bothering how its gonna end....
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Re: Kasol Cleanup Drive

Postby pawankalra » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:14 pm

Good job done . Best wishes for DOW
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