New Delhi: Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh – a traveller’s paradise has now one more attraction in its kitty and that’s the life-size art installation made from discarded plastic bottles and wrappers that travellers leave behind while visiting the valley. The installation has been put up by a 29-year-old travel blogger, Shivya Nath, and few other volunteers who spent 3 weeks in the valley last month in a bid to raise awareness about the harmful environmental consequences of using plastic water bottles in Spiti, that’s regarded as an eco-sensitive high altitude mountain desert. The idea behind the art installation that reads ‘I love Spiti’ was simple, just like all around the world, people take photographs with “I Love New York” and “I Love Amsterdam”, the volunteers decided to join the bandwagon and make “I Love Spiti” art installation, but, with a twist. The Green volunteers unveiled the masterpiece last month at 12,000+ feet in Kaza, the administrative capital in collaboration with Ecosphere, a social enterprise that emphasises on eco conservation, responsible mountain travel and adventure.
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Instead of drinking “Himalayan” water bottled in the plains – which leeches chemicals if buried, reused or burnt – we can refill our bottles with filtered real Himalayan water across hotels in Kaza and homestays in the upper villages, says Shivya Nath in a Facebook post.
As per the research done by these volunteers, an estimated 3,00,000 plastic bottles are dumped in Spiti every season.
We estimate that 3,00,000+ plastic bottles are dumped in Spiti every year. Hope this artwork inspires travellers to stop using them!#india pic.twitter.com/VwSwUxzVpL
— Shivya Nath (@shivya) September 13, 2017
In the absence of recycling centre in the valley, the only option there is to burn and bury the PET bottles, but, the harmful chemicals in plastic bottles can affect the groundwater and soil. So, to drive home this point, the Swachh volunteers built this thought-provoking masterpiece.
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Apart from the art installation, the volunteers are hoping to have a sizeable number of hotels, restaurants and cafes across Kaza equipped with water filters and filter-fitted bottles, to cut down on bottled water use. They also hope that by next season Spiti will have cute sign boards made with discarded plastic bottles indicating water refill stations, and posters that reveal shocking facts about plastic bottled water.