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Clean Up Drive at Skandagiri- Feb 7th, 2016

When I first got a mail about this event, I was really wondering if there was so much waste on Skandagiri, that a Clean up Drive had to be done by a group of 75 people. They had even mentioned that previous time they had collected about 250 kg of waste. Even after collecting so much waste, was there anything really left? I thought myself. But then, I decided to join the event and see for myself whether the hill was littered that badly.

We were asked to gather at Majestic, Terminal 3 Bus Stand at 7 AM. It was a pleasant Sunday morning. We left at 7:15 AM and boarded Chikkaballapura bus. On reaching there at 8:45 AM, we took another bus to reach the base of the hills. It was 9:30 AM, and people who had come by Cars and bikes had already started their work. We were about 20 members out of 53 who had come by bus, and we all had breakfast, collected the our lunch packets,  gloves, face mask and plastic/gunny bags to collect garbage, and started to trek the hill at about 10:15 AM.

We were 53 people in all, and 3 organizers of BTC remained at the base to coordinate. The rest of the group was divided to 5, and each group would clean different patch of trials of the hill. My group was to directly go to the peak, and start the cleaning there. On the way, we saw that other groups were already on the go, and we continued to make it to the peak at 11:30 AM.
Waste on the peak
Waste on the peak
Few people there had already collected about 4 to 5 bags. We also quickly started, and divided ourselves on different nooks and corners on the peak. On the plain sight, not much garbage was seen, But places below the rocks and bushes, there was just too much waste, Just TOO MUCH. The more we collected, the more we could see. We had to put all the glass bottles to the gunny bags, and all the plastic/paper waste to the plastic bags. We had to kinda sneak in to the bushes to reach those plastic covers. Most of them were Maggi/Yippee noodle packet covers, and empty booze bottles of course, and there were just too many.

At about 1:30 PM, we gave a break for lunch, and at 2 we again started to collect some more waste. We realized that Glass bottles were too heavy to carry, and our organizer Vikram made a kind of stretcher using 2 empty gunny bags and pieces of wood, so that it would be much easier to carry them down that way. At around 3 PM, we started to tie up all the bags and packed them up, and about 3:30, each one of us picked 2 bags and started to descend down.
Packing up the waste bags
There were a few bags on the way too, which the other group had left it after packing them up. On the go we collected them also, and about 5 PM, everyone were down. We were given cakes on behalf of BTC's 3rd Birthday, and then we had a feedback session. Everyone felt kinda proud of being a part of such an event, and we had to thank the organizers for taking all the effort to coordinate/organize it very well. We all dispersed at 5:45AM, and we all moved towards the bus stand. We couldn't get a bus, and Virander and Hiren again helped us to get an auto to the Kalawaara village (the base of the hills, and Skandagiri is thus known as Kalawaara betta by locals) and we reached the town at 7, and boarded the bus back to Bengaluru at 7:20 PM.
Putting all the bags together at the base
While we were still on the bus, Virander informed about the statistical info of the waste that was collected. About 37 bags of Glass bottles, and 61 bags of Plastic waste, altogether weighed 860 kg!!! Hearing this number, we ourselves were surprised if we had collected so much, and we all wondered about even more waste that was still there on the hills.
Loading all the bags to the Waste disposal auto
Its really very sad to see so much waste on a peak of a hill, and even to clean it up, you have to ascend for about 3 km on foot. Of course no one can clean it up regularly. People come there to enjoy the nature, and to taste what it has to offer. Sure it's not wrong to enjoy yourselves, but they do not even have the right to litter such places. Its mere common sense that Plastic doesn't mix with the soil, and its very harmful to our mother Earth. Everyone can do their bit by just avoiding littering, and that will be enough to preserve such awesome destinations. After seeing all this, do we realize why Forest department will put a ban to such places. It is indeed our duty to preserve our environment, since we are already having enough with the increasing Global Warming. Its thus a sincere request for all those who trek, irrespective of how big or small the hill is, please DO NOT LITTER. It only takes a second to simply throw away, but it takes lot of effort to clean it up, and  is also an irreparable damage to the nature.
BTC Group with the Garbage bags
In the end, A big Cheers to BTC and the organizers Virander and Channa, for organizing such an event towards social cause. It was a wonderful and different experience altogether, and the event was planned and executed very well. Hoping to see more and more such events by them, and eagerly waiting to be a part of them! :)

Participated members - 53 BTCians
Garbage Collected total - 98 bags (≈860 Kgs of garbage)
Bottles total - 37 bags (mostly beer bottles)
Plastic, Paper & Others total - 61 bags

Special thanks to Mr. Salim & Mr. Venkataramappa for giving us opportunity to clean this hill. Without them it wouldn't had possible.

Please note that Skandagiri is BANNED for trekking. BTC had taken special permission from Forest Department only to clean it up

Written By      : Chandrika M.R.
Original Blog   to TRAVEL is to LIVE
Organized By  : Virander & Channa
Date of event : 7th February, 2016
Place               : Skandagiri
Members         : 53
Pictures          : BTC FB Page
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