Mandi, June 19
With the influx of tourists since the opening of Atal Tunnel on the Manali-Leh highway, Lahaul valley can be seen dotted with garbage. Worried over it, residents of Lahaul and Spiti district have sought a garbage processing plant.
The practice of throwing litter into the Chandra and Bhaga rivers is also rampant, posing a threat to the environment. Residents say at least one garbage treatment plant is needed badly in Lahaul valley.
There is a need to impose fine on tourists as well as local residents for littering the tourist places. Notice boards should be installed at key locations. Tashi Barongpa, Secretary, Hoteliers’ association, Lahaul
Work to begin soon
A no objection certificate has been taken from Tandi panchayat. The work to construct a garbage treatment plant will begin soon. Neeraj Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Lahaul and Spiti
Currently, the district administration has an arrangement to transport the garbage from Lahaul valley to the Manali treatment plant.
Rigzin Heyreppa, a social activist who heads Lahaul Eco-Tourism Society, says though the tourism industry has been flourishing since the opening of Atal Tunnel on the Manali-Leh highway, the practice of throwing garbage randomly by visitors is a concern. “Tourists from across the country have been flocking to Lahaul and Spiti, which is a good sign for the tourism industry here. Unfortunately, visitors are turning the tourist places of Lahaul valley into a waste dumping site. A few local businessmen, who own eateries, homestays and hotels, also lack a proper system for garbage disposal,” he adds.
Tashi Barongpa, secretary, Hoteliers’ Association, Lahaul, says cleanliness has become a major issue in Lahaul valley. “It needs to be addressed at the earliest to save the Himalaya region from environmental degradation. There is a need to impose fine on tourists as well as local residents for littering the tourist places. Notice boards should be installed at key locations on the highway to warn the visitors against littering,” he adds.
Anuradha Rana, chairperson, Zila Parishad, Lahaul and Spiti, says, “We have been requesting the district administration to set up a garbage plant in Lahaul valley.”
According to Neeraj Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Lahaul and Spiti, a no objection certificate has been taken from Tandi panchayat for installing a garbage plant in Lahaul. “FRA clearance has been taken and construction work will be started soon,” he added.
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