The ‘garbage girl’ gets ‘Green Hero’ award

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

SHIMLA - The ‘garbage girl’ of the mountains will get a ‘green’ award at an environment film festival to be held in the Himachal Pradesh state capital next month, an event organiser said here Wednesday.

British national Jodie Underhill’s contribution towards helping clean up mountains of trash in the mountains surrounding McLeodganj, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile in upper Dharamsala, was brought to the fore by IANS in its report, titled “The ‘garbage girl’ of the mountains” dated May 16.

“We will honour Jodie with ‘Green Hero’ award at the inauguration of a three-day Shimla CMS Vatavaran-Environment and Wildlife Travelling Film Festival and Forum 2010 beginning July 2. Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal will present the award to her,” Vishwajeet Ghoshal, Assistant Project Manager with New Delhi-based Centre for Media Studies (CMS), told IANS.

After going through the IANS report published in an English daily (The Tribune), the CMS came to know the contribution of Jodie and her group, the Mountain Cleaners towards cleaning the non-biodegradable waste dumped carelessly in the mountains.

Jodie, who is coming to Shimla to get the award, told IANS: “I’m so happy and honoured. The award will be dedicated to Himachal Pradesh and all the volunteers who have helped to make the mountain cleaning dream a reality.”

The film festival is sponsored by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The WWF-India is its organising partner.

Jodie came to Dharamsala in January on a tourist visa to sponsor the education of some Tibetan children but soon got involved in cleaning the mountains after seeing piles of garbage.

“Every Monday and Tuesday we visit Triund (the popular trekking route overlooking this town) to collect waste like polythene and paper bags, empty beer and liquor bottles, old tents, food item sachets and clothes. On an average, we are collecting 35 sacks of garbage from the nine-km stretch every week,” she said.

Underhill said that 70 percent of what they collect at Triund is plastic bottles.

“During the garbage collection drive, we also educate the local people and vendors about the scientific disposal of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste,” the 34-year-old Briton said.

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