As Himachal opens up, tourists bring junk to pristine areas

As Himachal opens up, tourists bring junk to pristine areas

In poor taste: Plastic waste left behind by tourists in a forest area of Palampur. Tribune photo

Ravinder Sood

Palampur, September 22

Hundreds of people have flocked to different tourist and pilgrimage places such as Chintpurni, Jwalamukhi, Kangra and Chamunda Devi after the state government opened the borders and relaxed travel restrictions.

Though tourists and pilgrims are welcome in the state, they unfortunately left behind a huge amount of plastic junk, empty liquor bottles and disposable plastic plates, littering forests, highways and villages. Disposable plastic material, polythene bags mineral water bottles, empty chips wrappers and sweet foils can be seen in the pristine areas of Kangra district despite a complete ban on the sale and use of polythene bags in the state.

“Preserving the environment of the area is not possible without the active cooperation of tourists and pilgrims, who seem to lack civic sense and throw polythene bags and plastics items in forests and local rivulets after use,” said a senior forest officer.

However, environmentalists blame lethargic monitoring by officials tasked with the conservation of the area for the worrisome situation. While most parts of the region falls under the reserved forest category, the remaining areas are governed by panchayats and temple trusts.

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