Littering In Himachal Pradesh Tourist Spots Raises Environmental Concerns

"Let's all make a conscious effort to keep our natural surroundings clean and beautiful, especially when visiting such breathtaking places. Let's take care of the environment together," a social media user posted.

Littering In Himachal Pradesh Tourist Spots Raises Environmental Concerns

The hill state of Himachal Pradesh has been experiencing a significant surge in tourists over the past week, attributed to Christmas and New Year celebrations. However, concerns have arisen regarding the environmental impact and tourist behaviour, as photos depict litter strewn across various locations. Littering has been observed at multiple spots, prompting Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Parveen Kaswan to express his concerns on social media.

Mr Kaswan shared a photo of littering in Sissu village near the Atal Tunnel, expressing worry about the situation. His post questioned the responsibility of visitors, stating, "This is Sissu village-after crossing the Atal tunnel, the first two villages are Sissu and Khoksar. Now, with thousands of vehicles entering the Atal tunnel daily, shouldn't people take their trash back?"

Reacting to the post, a retired naval officer stated, "This is terrible. We all need to exhibit some civic sense." 

"When going for a mountain trek, I ensure that I bring back every piece of plastic and non-biodegradable waste to the plain area. I also make sure my friends follow this. At any cost, we can't damage the ecosystem of the beautiful Himalayas," another posted.
 
"Let's all make a conscious effort to keep our natural surroundings clean and beautiful, especially when visiting such breathtaking places. Let's take care of the environment together!" a third commented.

The Atal Tunnel, situated at an elevation of 3,100 meters (10,171 ft), has become a major tourist attraction, leading to significant traffic congestion on roads leading to the tunnel. On December 25, a record-breaking 28,210 vehicles crossed the 9.02-kilometer-long tunnel in 24 hours, according to police data. More than 14,000 vehicles were from Himachal Pradesh, and over 13,000 vehicles came from outside the state.

In another incident, a viral video from five days ago showed a tourist driving a Mahindra Thar SUV through the Chandra River in Lahaul Valley, drawing criticism from locals. Fortunately, the river's low water level prevented potential harm. The police promptly issued a challan to the SUV driver for the dangerous act.

Authorities are now grappling with the challenge of promoting tourism, a crucial source of revenue while ensuring environmental preservation and the safety of both tourists and locals. The increased footfall in these picturesque locations necessitates collective responsibility from visitors to maintain the beauty of the hills. The police have urged tourists to adhere to guidelines.