Resource Digest - - MANPOWER -

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.

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