India is a beautiful country with a diversity unrivaled. From dense rain forests of the Western Ghats to deserts like the Thar- From the great himalayas to some of the best beaches – From great rivers to backwater- From great wild life parks to amazing heritage sights, we have it all. And, yet, no one else treats these treasures with as much disrespect as we do. We Litter where ever we go.
Whether it is the Himalayan peaks or tourist destinations like Manali, Shimla, Kangra or Kinnaur, the thousands of global and domestic tourists , despite tall talks about responsible and eco-tourism, are leaving behind tons of trash.
Western Himalayas in Himachal have hundreds of trekking routes and many of them have become clogged with trash. Mountaineers are littering Himalayas with plastic and glass waste like bottles, biscuits, chips, candies, medicines, food packaging and trekking equipment. Though there are strict mountain codes to stop littering, nobody is there to check if the codes are being followed. As per the experts plastic waste is not only killing precious flora, but is also causing landslides.
More worrisome is that climbers from abroad too have started following the footsteps of domestic expedition organizers and trekkers and are throwing trash irresponsibly. “Climbers and trekkers often brag about mountain codes and social responsibilities, but when they get exhausted after multi-day trekking and fail to carry the luggage including non-biodegradable waste, they try to dump it anywhere on the mountains,” a trekking guide, said. This includes trekkers from developed countries like US, France, Italy and Germany too
However, majority of litterbugs are from India, who do not care for nature and adverse impacts of plastic waste. Domestic trekking routes like Bhrigu, Ranisui, Triund, Khirganga, Malana, Hatu peak, Chandertal and Kamrunag are the most affected by littering. Trekkers on long trekking routes also return without trash as they don’t want to carry trash for days.
Treks are becoming commercial everywhere and the number of travelers is increasing by the day – littering is becoming a serious issue. Strict mountain codes and respect for our natural resources are necessary to keep the mountains beautiful.