- The Neela Wahn waterfalls are stunning. Practically hidden deep in a valley between rocky hills coated with greenery, they're easy to miss if you don't know what you're looking for.
It takes some time to hike down the mountain, but once you reach the bottom and catch a first glimpse of the crystalline blue waters, you know it's worth the trek.
Or is it? The waterfalls are stunning at first glance, but as you approach, you'll notice piles of trash and waste scattered around the water's edge.
Walking around the falls means dodging discarded chai cups, crumpled chips bags, soggy paper pulp, other unspeakables of human origin. The waterfalls begin to look more like a wet landfill than a place of natural beauty.
Swimming was irresistible, but my time in the water included prying trash from reeds and catching wrappers swirling in the currents. I saw the potential, I was still wowed by the beauty, but try as I might I couldn't look beyond the waterfalls of waste.
What to do? Changing people's mindsets towards trash is not easy, and will take many years. But that doesn't mean we have to wait until then to see places like this cleaned.
There are still things we can do as individuals. When you go to places like Neela Wahn, either bring a bag for trash, or simply pick one off the ground (there's always at least one). Don't just clean up your own trash; try to fill up your bag with other trash you see, and take it with you when you leave. Doing so only takes a few minutes, and you can always wash your hands in the water after.
If even a third of the visitors take away a bag of trash at the end of their trip, these places will be significantly nicer and cleaner in just a few weeks. It's a lot of results for little effort!
What other things can we do to keep places like this clean?
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