ZERO WASTE LADAKH is a nonprofit organisation working in the high Himalayas with individuals and local communities to address the problem of waste – a registered trust based in Ladakh with 12A and 80G certification.
Ladakh is a high-altitude desert region in the Indian Himalayas, known for its breathtaking landscapes and extremely harsh winters. Ladakh remained cut off from the rest of the country until the 1970s due to its remoteness and inaccessibility. In the 1970s, the Indian army established its military base in Ladakh because of its strategic position bordering Pakistan and China. Massive infrastructural construction followed: hundreds of kilometres of roads, an airport, fuel stations, government offices, provision stores, and barracks. Thousands of army personnel got stationed. Never before seen tourists, both foreign and Indian, started flocking to Ladakh.
With the birth of tourism, hundreds of hotels, restaurants, cafes, homestays, and shops opened in Ladakh. Hiking and mountaineering to. Traditionally, Ladakh was a waste-free society –– some usage was made for every waste. However, after the 1970s, new types of waste appeared, such as plastics, cement, ceramic, rubber, glass, Tetra Pak, paperboard, metal, polyester, and e-waste, for which the local community had limited reuse and no means of disposal. Having no environmental pollution until very recently, the effects of excessive waste and improper disposal show more conspicuously in Ladakh than elsewhere.
In recognition of and as a response to this problem, ZERO WASTE LADAKH was established in 2021 to develop sustainable solutions to manage and prevent waste by involving the local community. We are an action group of concerned and self-driven individuals, who study the waste problem and spread awareness, recover and reuse waste materials, and generate livelihood for the local community through waste management activities, with the broad goals of conserving resources, reducing waste, and preserving the natural beauty of the high Himalayas.