Spiti has a new must-see: An art installation made from the plastic you left behind
Shivya Nath, a 29-year-old travel blogger, spent the last three weeks working on a campaign to raise awareness about the harmful environmental consequences of using plastic water bottles in Spiti, an eco-sensitive high altitude mountain desert.
To drive home the point, Nath, and a group of volunteers, built a life-size art installation made entirely from discarded plastic bottles and wrappers that travellers leave behind while visiting the valley.
The ‘I love Spiti’ installation was unveiled at Nath’s first Instagram meet at 12,000+ feet in Kaza on September 8- in collaboration with Ecosphere, a social enterprise that emphasises on eco conservation, responsible mountain travel and adventure. The structure is located near Kaza Gate/Rangrik Bridge as a reminder to every traveller, local and business about the need to say no to plastic bottles.
Nath, who quit her corporate job to travel in 2011, believes in change stemming from grassroot level and individual efforts. “Instead of drinking ‘Himalayan’ bottled water in the plains - that 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,” she writes in a Facebook post.
As part of the same campaign, volunteers are working with restaurants and cafes to offer filtered water as bottled waters carry less oxygen. They are also doing their bit by educating locals on the ill-effects of re-using cheap plastic bottles.
According to research by Nath and Ecosphere, an estimated 3,00,000 plastic bottles are dumped in Spiti every season. Burning, burying and reusing them results in harmful chemicals being seeped into the groundwater and soil. The nearest recycling centre is all the way in Punjab and the dumping ground is right next to the riverbed.
Nath grew up in Dehradun and went on to work with the Singapore Tourism Board fuelled by her desire for travel and started following the journey of travel bloggers across the world.