Mountaineering institute flags off cleanliness drive of hills, ocean
Darjeeling: The Mountain to Ocean (M2O) cleanliness drive was flagged off at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling as part of the commemoration of International Mountain Day 2020 on Friday. The Institute is undertaking a 10-day long mountain cleaning expedition to West Sikkim Himalayas from December 15 to 25. A 20 member HMI team will carry out the cleaning drive in and around the Kanchenjunga National Park in Sikkim and bring down the garbage for proper disposal.
At the same time a group of volunteers from Andaman and Nicobar Islands will carry out a beach cleaning drive at Port Blair under the aegis of HMI. This team will also trek to the highest point in Andaman and Nicobar Islands along with carrying out a cleaning drive there also. "The existence and continuity of HMI and lives of people working here depends on mountains. Therefore, at HMI we consider it as our primary duty to protect the mountains and its ecology and environment," stated Group Captain Jai Kishan, Principal, HMI.
The expedition was flagged off in a ceremony at the HMI by legendary mountaineer and Everester Kusang Sherpa. Five-time Everest summiteer and a recipient of Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award, Kusang is the first man to climb Mount Everest from all three faces including the most difficult Kangshung Face. He is also the former Chief Instructor of HMI.
Mountain biodiversity is the theme of this year's International Mountains Day. Mountains are home to 15 per cent of the world's population and host about half of the world's biodiversity hotspots. Of the 20 plant species that supply 80 per cent of the world's food, six originated and have been diversified in mountains. More than half of humanity relies on mountain freshwater for everyday life. "On this day, we appreciate all of the world's mountains and its contribution to life on earth. It is also a good day to take some time to reflect on those who have lost their lives while attempting to climb mountains and pay tribute to them," added the Principal.