Garbage Pile-Up Near Atal Tunnel As Himachal Sees Heavy Holiday Rush

As the year draws to a close, a garbage pile-up near the Atal tunnel reminds us we have neither learnt to respect nature nor maintain cleanliness.

Garbage Pile-Up Near Atal Tunnel As Himachal Sees Heavy Holiday Rush

As the year draws to a close, a garbage pile-up near the Atal tunnel reminds us we have neither learnt to respect nature nor maintain cleanliness. The tunnel that connects the tourist town of Manali with the picturesque Lahaul-Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh buzzes with tourist traffic during the winter holidays as the popular hill stations soak in festive mood. But plastic bags and bottles piled up near the tunnel paints a sad picture of what tourism does to the hills.

The image from near Sissu and Khokar villages was shared by a forest officer.

"What we are leaving behind in hills!! This is village Sissu - once you cross Atal tunnel the first two villages are Sissu & Khoksar. Now thousands of vehicles are entering Atal tunnel every day. Aren't people supposed to take their trashes back," said IFS officer Parveen Kaswan on X, formerly Twitter.

An user suggested that the country needs a minister to tackle the trash problem - someone who can draft a "countrywide policy for waste management". Another said that there should be a "green tax" for tourists entering mountains that will aid garbage clearing activities.

The Atal tunnel, also known as the Rohtang Tunnel, is the longest tunnel above 10,000 feet in the world. Last Monday, on Christmas day, it saw a massive traffic jam with thousands of tourists waiting in a queue. A record 28,210 vehicles had crossed the tunnel in the past 24 hours, the police had said.