#WildWomenInterviews with Janaki Lenin: Episode 15
Minakshi Pandey, with her husband Ritish Suri, ran a wildlife lodge in Corbett called Camp Forktail Creek for a dozen years. They set an example of how to run a responsible tourism operation. Then they shut down the camp, and Minakshi plunged into solid waste management, setting up the Corbett chapter of Waste Warriors.
From a young age, Minakshi was conscious about littering and it was only natural that she’d be motivated to do something about the garbage problem. She says behind every picturesque spot is a pile of refuse and she’d require mountaineering skills to clean up the areas. She works with children in schools to build awareness, trains hotel staff to deal with their waste, and collaborates with women’s’ self-help groups to collect garbage. Few households pay a user fee to have their non-degradable waste, and corporate funding helps the group tide over the shortfall.
Plastic waste is an especially horrendous problem in our wilderness areas. Animals, everything from elephants to snakes, die after eating plastic. It’s not enough to merely declare wildlife reserves as plastic-free zones for tourists. The staff, who live in the forests, also use plastic bags that are either burnt or buried. While some resorts in Central India have shown interest in setting up their own systems, park managements and local governance bodies have to do much more. The Waste Warriors publications offer instructions and advice on how to set these up.
Watch what she has to say here:
Photo credits: Daksha Bapat, Mihir Kothari, Waste Warriors
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