Campaign Ended! The campaign ended on January, 23 2017
The waste management projects in Bhagsu and Triund mountain camp may soon be shut down due to lack of funds
Well, the crowdfunding campaign is over and we didn't reach our target but we are hopeful that enough support will come from the Chief Minister to enable us to save the project. Many thanks to you all for your donations, words of encouragement and for all those 'shares' on your social media pages! Together we raised Rs456,137 plus Rs10,000 from an unknown donor and India Calls Charitable Trust and Vaibhav Mittal have promised that a total of Rs50,000 will be donated this week. That takes our grand total up to Rs516,137.
Vikas from Johnson & Johnson was appreciative of our efforts but we need FCRA to be able to collect foreign contributions which we don't have right now. Abhimanya Roy has pledged Rs2000 per month on an ongoing basis which is great. Tiffany Brooke Fest donated some waste bins for Bhagsu and bought much needed winter boots for each of our Dharamsala Waste Workers.
We have been informed by Ketto that it will take 2 weeks to get the funds to us. Once we receive the money we will send a thank you, a receipt and a copy of our 80G certificate to each and every person that donated. THANKS SO MUCH EVERYONE!
If you missed the campaign but would still like to contribute please do so. WE STILL NEED YOUR SUPPORT! Our bank account details are as follows.
Account Name: Waste Warriors Society
Bank Name: State Bank of India (SBI)
Branch Name: New Cantt Road
IFSC code: SBIN0060432
Account Number: 33742176465
Waste Warriors Co-founder and Chief Outreach Officer, Jodie Underhill yesterday met with the Chief Minister of Himachal, Virbhadra Singh at Circuit House, Dharamsala. She explained that since she started the weekly waste collection from Triund back in 2009 there had been a 1000% increase in the number of tourists, the garbage was becoming increasingly difficult to manage and the costs had inevitably increased. She informed him that due to a lack of funds it had been decided to close the project and that a crowd funding campaign was underway in a final bid to save the project.He expressed his gratitude for the work that Waste Warriors has been doing in the field of waste management and pledged his full support.
An update was posted on the Chief Ministers Facebook page soon after the meeting stating “Met the renowned ' Garbage Girl' Jodie Underhill founder of Waste Warriors at Dharamshala circuit house this morning. I have been told that her organization has been maintaining the cleanliness on the famous Triund trek route. Jodie told me that Waste Warriors - Dharamsala is planning to shut down their operations due to lack of funds. Promised her all possible help and directed the officials to immediately release some funds for the organization.”
A funding proposal was immediately passed onto Mr Chander Prakash Verma, Deputy Commissioner with instructions to give whatever help was required. The aim is for tourists to bring their waste back down from the mountain camp in re-usable garbage bags and deposit the waste at a recycling and waste drop off point at Galu. Punjab National Bank has kindly covered the capital costs of the project to the sum of 2.2 lakh.
Jodie said “We feel blessed that we got the opportunity to meet with the Chief Minister and are delighted that he is so supportive of our efforts. We were also able to meet with the Deputy Commissioner and he was also very appreciative of our work. Funding has been an ongoing issue for us as an organisation and government support is essential for projects like these to succeed. Gokul Butail has been a huge help in helping us to meet the right people and we are extremely grateful to him for his assistance. We would like to thank PNB and each and every person that has donated to save the Dharamsala project.”
Please take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to watch this video.
About the Fundraiser
Waste Warriors has been working hard to keep the mountains clean since 2012 but the Dharamsala project will soon be stopped unless we raise enough funds to continue working there. Triund has become known as one of the cleanest hiking destinations in the country, despite being visited by approximately 10,000 people each month but sadly, due to lack of support and no financial assistance from the Government and the businesses there, we are now running at a huge deficit with the project and a decision has been made to close it down.
In addition to the Triund project we also provide a waste collection in Bhagsu and the majority of places we collect from have no vehicle access making our work extremely challenging. We host weekly clean’s drives at Bhagsu waterfall and out in the local community, provide dustbins for use by the general public, do awareness raising art projects, educational children’s events etc.
We have collected and processed over 980 tonnes of waste from Bhagsunag and Triund since August 2012 and if we cease to work in these areas, the results will be catastrophic!
Please donate so that we can keep our projects going and continue to take care of the mountains. Everyone agrees that the work we are doing is essential but we cannot continue without funding. Please share this page with your friends, family and contacts so they too can support our cause.
About the NGO
Our Founder Jodie Underhill started the Triund project in 2009. She was so dismayed to see the garbage strewn around the mountain camp and down the mountainside, that she immediately started clean-up drives, a weekly waste collection service and set up a recycling station at Galu, the popular trekking crossroads. Waste Warriors was registered in 2012 and has been doing awesome work there ever since.
Waste Warriors is a not for profit organization and a registered society committed to tackling India’s garbage problem. We do this through a combination of direct action, liaison and awareness raising, with an emphasis on civic pride and education. We have projects in Dharamsala, Dehradun and around the Corbett Tiger Reserve. We employ around 60 members of staff, the majority of those are Waste Workers from some of the poorest sectors of society. Our work has been praised across the country but fundraising remains our largest challenge.
The Current Situation
The project is managed by Project Assistants Vivek and Sanam, who recruit volunteers to help them clean the trail and segregate the waste from all of the chai shops and guest houses en-route to and at the mountain camp itself. The segregated, bagged up waste is then bought down to Bhagsunag by the mules that take the supplies up the mountain. Last year we spent nearly a lakh on mules alone to bring all of the waste down. Recyclable waste is then further segregated and sent for recycling and the non-recyclable waste goes to the official dumping ground in Lower Dharamsala.
Our Other Projects in Dharamsala
In addition to the Triund project, we also run a number of other projects in the Bhagsunag area. These projects are also at risk of closure as we do not have the funding to sustain them.
Door-to-Door Waste Collection
We run a door-to-door waste collection for businesses and households in Lower and Upper Bhagsunag and collect from over 200 places during the busy tourist season. Given that many of these places are inaccessible by road, our Green Workers have to carry waste for up to 2km’s. The terrain is steep meaning our workers have to be in prime physical shape to do their jobs. Providing a waste collection service has massively reduced the amount of burning and dumping in the forest and nullahs (streams). We receive monthly donations from the households and businesses but not enough to cover the costs of providing the service.
Maintaining the Cleanliness of Bhagsunag
This once sleepy village is now a mass of hotels, guesthouses and restaurants. During the main tourist season, Bhagsunag sees an average of 5000 tourists per day! The Municipality only employs 2 people to clean there, the same amount that they had 7 years ago despite the increase in tourism and population. Our workers maintain the cleanliness of the main square and taxi area, the main shopping hill and the two children’s playgrounds.
We are huge advocates of the importance of dustbins – we have installed dustbins all over Bhagsunag, and we empty them on a regular basis. We also empty dustbins that have been installed by the Vyipar Mandal, so in total we manage 42 dustbins. Dustbins are essential if cleanliness is to be achieved and people definitely use them if they are available.
Every Thursday we host a clean-up at tourist hotspot, Bhagsu Waterfall. Not only is this place visited by thousands of tourists it is also used as a place for swimming and washing clothes by the locals. In addition to cleaning around the waterfall we also clean the trail that leads there from Bhagsu. We provide a waste collection service to the businesses in this area and have installed signage and dustbins there in order to mitigate littering.
Community Clean-Up Drives
We conduct regular community clean-ups in our local area, including the surrounding forests and hiking trails. We choose an area to clean, recruit volunteers to help us, many of them are tourists passing through and others are from various organizations. We work hard to involve community members but it’s not easy due to the social stigma attached to waste. We ensure that waste is collected segregated so that we can recycle as much as possible.
We truly understand the importance of educating the next generation about waste management so we run educational children's events and conduct activities with schools. Local school children get involved in our clean-up drives and awareness raising activities too.
Please Support Us
For all of you that can appreciate the beauty of the mountains, want a clean India or have seen first hand how important our work is please donate. Share this appeal on your social media, speak with family and friends and help us to raise enough funds to cove our basic expenses for the Dharamsala project for the year ahead. Thanks in advance for all your help.