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Provocative Art Installation Uses 300,000 Plastic Bottles Left Behind By Tourists

By Brian Spaen

Thousands of single use plastic bottles are purchased and consumed every second around the world. The waste it creates puts a significant strain on the environment. A stunning art installation of plastic waste is drawing a lot of attention to the 300,000 plastic bottles discarded by tourists each season in the Himalayan mountains. The installation is located in the Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh in India.

Lahaul and Spiti have seen an increase in tourism and traffic over the years, and that’s mostly during the months between June and October when the forecast is free of snowy conditions. People come to take in the beautiful scenery and to explore the Buddhist monasteries. Most notably, the Tabo Monastery sits at an altitude of over 10,000 feet and reached 1,000 years old back in 1996. However, a boost in traffic created a large waste problem. Basically, with more tourists, came more plastic waste. This problem only served to hurt the beautiful area people were coming to explore. Luckily, people are acting fast to raise awareness and create some much needed change. 

A group of travel bloggers spent three weeks in Spiti raising awareness of the plastic that’s discarded from people that tour the Himalayan mountains. In that time, they constructed a monument of sorts that spells out “Spiti” in big, bold letters with a large heart next to it. According to travel writer Neelima Vallangi, this is made up of 300,000 plastic bottles that were found in the area. It’s also very close to a large landfill by the river.