A Swachh Amarnath Yatra in 2022

This year, the Government of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir asked the Department of Rural Sanitation (Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, J&K), to make the unique ‘Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra’ pilgrimage’ a sustainable and zero landfill event. As many as 4.2 lakh pilgrims participated in the Yatra this year. 

In keeping with this directive, the Director Rural Sanitation, J&K, Mr. Charandeep Singh, under the leadership of Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, J&K, Ms. Mandeep Kaur, organised a practical and innovative approach towards the making of a Swachh Yatra.  Solid waste management Start-up Swaaha, a pioneer in Zero Landfill events, was a part of the mega event.

The detailed sanitation plan included:

Facilities and manpower:  To provide access to clean toilets, more than 6500 toilets with 24-hour water supply were installed out of which 1660 were pre-fabricated.  As many as 3500 Safai Mitras were hired and appointed over a 3-shift system to clean the track, toilets and langers.

Solid waste management:  To convert organic waste to compost, at all the camps located along Pahalgam and Baltal Axes solid waste management facilities with latest technologies were established. Waste was collected from langars, army camps and other bulk waste generators like shops and canteens.  Further, organic waste shredders were used for volume reduction and cure the food waste before converting it into organic compost.  The compost made was distributed as souvenirs to the pilgrims who were delighted with the gift.

Non-biodegradable waste management:  Plastic and dry waste was collected, segregated into 12 categories, baled, and recycled.

A total of 480 tons of waste was collected and processed, making the event sustainable and a zero landfill event.

IEC for behavioural change:  More than 3.5 lakh pilgrims and around 50,000 service providers were educated about the importance of waste segregation and sustainability, as well as the need to refrain from littering and using of single use polythene, disposables and plastics.

Event Anthem:  Composed by Padmshri Kailash Kher, the anthem was a big hit with millions of views on Youtube.  Further, jingles were created and broadcast on a PA system to raise awareness in basecamps, langars and the trek route.

Sustainable Solutions:  Two big-sized 16-square-meter solar Schafflar dishes were installed to facilitate cooking and to provide regular hot water supply.  These were a great success. Additionally, the department arranged for the distribution of 50 thousand free cloth bags.

Technology for cleanliness: For the first time in the history of the Amarnath Yatra, an online MIS portal was developed.  Under this a Garbage report system in App format was available for use:  www.shriamarnathjiyatra.in and www.shriamarnathjiyatra.app

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