The government of Uttarakhand is taking measures to prevent plastic waste along the Char Dham yatra route, which covers temples at Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. They have implemented a unique waste-disposal system that uses QR codes, which will help streamline the waste collection and reduce garbage on the route.
Visitors will be required to scan a QR code on each plastic bottle and multi-layer plastic bag and pay a deposit over the maximum retail price. They can claim the deposit back as a refund when they deposit the waste at a point at the end of the yatra.
The idea and execution are being carried out by Recykal, a Hyderabad-based start-up that provides software solutions for better recycling and sustainability. This year, up to 45 lakh QR codes are expected to be printed. Last year, during the pilot project, 94,000 QR codes were distributed among traders, and the initiative reached 546 shops, 334 eateries, and 94 hotels during the six-month duration of the yatra.
Those who returned bottles included consumers, sanitation workers, mule owners, and palanquin riders. If there were bottles that were not returned, the extra money collected was put in a corpus. The project has won a silver medal in the Digital India Awards under the category of a government’s digital initiatives in collaboration with start-ups.