ONGC TAKES PM’S SWACHH BHARAT DRIVE TO HIMALAYAS
Oil producers usually prefer to bake the Earth for profit. But ONGC is bucking that trend by using some of its profit to nurse the ground and clean up key sources of water in the Himalayas.
The flagship explorer has joined four expeditions launched by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, the apex mountaineering body, to take PM Narendra Modi's ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign to Himalayan heights — literally. The expeditions will bring back mountains of garbage, left behind by scores of climbers and thousands of trekkers, from four regions in the Himalaya that are popular destinations among ad venture seekers.
“This is the first time adventure has entered CSR (corporate social responsibility) lexicon. We have the expertise and access to mountains. ONGC has the resources and decided to join us in cleaning up these challenging heights in the Himalaya,” IMF president Co (Retd) H S Chauhan said.
ONGC is not only helping out with costs but has also has one representative in each expedition. ONGC'S venture with the IMF stands out as corporate sponsorship for mountaineering or other adventure sports is no common in India. Big conglomerates like the Tata group back their own adventure wings.
Each team is being led by an IMF expert. The teams have been kept small and are expected to return by the end of this month “The PM has called for creating a Swatchh Bharat (Clean India) The regions and glaciers under the ambit of our expeditions are a source of water. A clean source makes for clean streams, which in turn helps in cleaning rivers.”
Experts have warned against piling garbage in the Himalaya. Non-biodegradable waste absorbs heat which raises temperature and speeds up the rate at which glaciers melt Faster glacial melting rate has been linked to shrinking of glaciers and give rise to glacial lakes that can burst with devastating results downstream.
The expeditions would start mopping up waste from the roadhead village, right to the top. Villagers would be hired as high-altitude porters who will collect and bring down the garbage to a point where ponies or mules can reach. From this point ponies would carry the waste for loading in trucks that would cart them to a municipality with proper disposal facilities.