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Run for the Environment

A public awareness film by Zero Waste Ladakh

Run for the environment

About the film

Run for the Environment calls on people to reduce their environmental footprint as they travel in Ladakh because situated at 11,500 ft above sea level, Ladakh has a fragile environment that has come under threat in recent years due to global warming, surge in human activity, and the tourism boom.

Made on the occasion of the Ladakh Marathon 2023, which marks one decade of the world's highest marathon, the film portrays Ladakhi runners with an admirable combination of prowess as athletes and intent to protect their native environment. As they prepare for the marathon and go through the day, they make an effort to reduce waste generation and consume fewer resources at every step.

Through the characters of environmentally-conscious athletes, Run for the Environment aims to spark interest in people about the environment of Ladakh, arouse concern over its waste crisis, and motivate them to take personal responsibility to safeguard the environment as they explore Ladakh and immerse in its captivating beauty.

The broader message conveyed by the film is that we need to give equal importance to the environment and our life goals because our survival and well-being depend on the environment. We currently live and travel in a highly unsustainable way, taking nature for granted and testing the limits of its endurance by our reckless actions. However, not all damage is reversible or reparable. In Ladakh, substantial damage has been done to the once-pristine environment within a very short period. We must wake up now and take action before it's too late to save the environment.

About the waste crisis in Ladakh

Ladakh was a remarkably zero-waste society once upon a time. The terrain, climatic conditions, and remoteness were such that frugality and preservation were the way of life. From construction to clothing, all the materials used were derived from nature and returned to it.

Things changed with the introduction of modern life, and not entirely for good. The new-age waste generation, driven by changes in local lifestyle, giant army presence, and over-tourism, is admittedly the nightmare of this region. Deceptively clean on the exterior, Ladakh has massive amounts of trash in mountains and valleys, dumped in the outskirts, buried in soil, burnt in backyards, and thrown in streams, all thanks to human actions.

The environment is becoming more polluted every year because of the ever-increasing quantities of waste. It has affected the quality of human life. Waste ingestion is also a cause of death among animals. Despite all this, waste is not treated like a crisis, though it very much is. Few seem to care about it. The vast majority live in oblivion. And perhaps no one is fully aware of the enormity and complexity of the problem.

Every year, nearly 600,000 tourists visit Ladakh while the native population is about 300,000 Through this film, we aim to create awareness about becoming sustainable travelers in Ladakh or anywhere for that matter. The film illustrates 10 simple sustainability tips to cut down resource consumption and waste generation. Multiplied by thousands and thousands of tourists visiting Ladakh each year, these individual actions can make a substantial difference in reducing the burden of waste and conserving resources.

Sustainability tips from the film

Here are the 10 sustainability tips from the film, Run for the Environment.

  • 01 Carry your reusable water bottle with you. Every second, 1,500 plastic bottles are thrown around the world. You can prevent waste generation from 4-6 plastic bottles every day by carrying a reusable water bottle.

  • 02 Refill your bottle when at a restaurant.

  • 03 Ask for a water bottle at any cafe.

  • 04 Refuse carry bag, bring your own bag. Carry bags are a part of the convenience culture that is polluting our planet. Single-use carry bags used in Ladakh look like cloth but are made of plastic! Refuse single-use carry bags. Instead, carry a bag with you for shopping. Waste from 20 single-use carry bags can be prevented every month just by carrying a bag whenever going out.

  • 05 Use local toilets. These dry toilets are hygienic and environment-friendly.

  • 06 Carry your towel while traveling It takes about 15 liters of water to wash one towel!

  • 07 Bring your own toiletries. Single-use packages are difficult to recover and recycle. Avoid as much as possible.

  • 08 Do not waste water. Water in Ladakh comes from glaciers which are under threat of disappearing. Let's make an effort to save every drop.

  • 09 Avoid single-serve condiments. Water in Ladakh comes from glaciers which are under threat of disappearing. Let's make an effort to save every drop.

  • 10 Do not litter, dispose of waste responsibly. Littering pollutes land and water bodies and spoils the natural beauty. If you generate waste on the go, bring your waste back with you and dispose it of responsibly.

Cast, crew, and filming

  • Video and editing: Mipham Jigmet

  • Cast: Nawang Tsering, Stanzin Khenrab

  • Shoot location: Ladakh

  • Concept and execution: Zero Waste Ladakh

Behind the scenes

81 views3 comments


The only hope is people care just a bit to be aware about how much peripheral waste they generate every day. Thank you for working tirelessly on that front. The short movie is very well made and the blog very concise. May it bring results so that we can atleast hope to save our planet.


What an innovative effort towards environmental sustainability.

Debayan Maji
Debayan Maji
Sep 07, 2023
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