The tourists have gone back to the cities, adjusting to the grind of daily life. But what about the mess they’ve left behind? Let me explain.
In a time when adventure tourism is become popular day by day, trekking in the hills is seen as an activity that even a layman can do, depending on the route. While trekking involves climbing high ranges without the availability of food for short (or long) distances, the waste trekkers generate are essentially wrappers, packets, discarded cartons etc. Many of the popular, commercial trek paths like Triund, McLeodganj, Dharamshala and Kullu are loaded with plastic waste. There’s plastic everywhere.
While you might not think much about it, it is the people of the mountains and the environment that bear the brunt.
The next time you travel to the hills make sure to keep the following in mind: travel responsibly, don’t disregard nature, and don’t ruin the biodiversity.
Jute all the way – Carry jute bags on your trips to the hills. Forget about disposable plastic bags. Jute bags are biodegradable and also have low carbon and water footprints. Plus they don’t tear easily.
Portable dustbins – Whenever you are travelling, either by your own vehicle or by public transport, make sure you carry a small ‘dustbin’ bag as to store all waste products until you find the next nearest dustbin.
Glass use – While travelling we tend to carry snacks and sweets that come wrapped in plastic. Why not buy in bulk and carry in small glass bottles or containers that can be reused as storage?
Water Conservation – When you check into a hotel, use water as you would at home, judiciously. Due to excess demand of water during vacations, there is a shortage of water for the locals.
Use energy efficiently – While you are staying at the hotel, make sure you utilise energy efficiently. Don’t keep the air conditioners, geysers and dryers unnecessarily running. Also keep in mind to turn off all lights and fans while you head out to explore.
Use public transport – Try and use public transport as much as you can. It may not be completely eco-friendly but definitely reduces the carbon footprint. It also gives you a chance to interact with locals, making your trip more worthwhile. If you have to hire a car make sure its emissions are less.
And most important, don’t forget to leave the place in the same condition as it was when you arrived.
Also read How To Be A Responsible Wildlife Tourist