Tourist rush triggers garbage woes in Lahaul, locals step in : The Tribune India

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Tourist rush triggers garbage woes in Lahaul, locals step in

Tourist rush triggers garbage woes in Lahaul, locals step in

Volunteers clear garbage during a cleanliness drive at Koksar in the Lahaul valley.



Abhinav Vashisht

Kullu, June 8

After the opening of the Atal Tunnel in October 2020, the Koksar area is witnessing a heavy influx of tourists due to which the problem of garbage disposal has also escalated. The area panchayat was accumulating and dumping waste in pits and it has also installed a waste-shredding machine in the area.

Has become easily accessible

  • Thousands of tourists are visiting Koksar and Sissu areas in Lahaul after it had become easily accessible. Only 1,200 vehicles are allowed towards the Rohtang Pass due to which a large number of tourists are flocking the Lahaul valley.
  • Over 5,000 vehicles are arriving in the Lahaul valley everyday. As many as 25.76 lakh vehicles have commuted through the strategically important 9.02-km-long Atal Tunnel from January 2022 to December 2023
  • The tunnel registered a record passage of 10,689 vehicles from Manali towards Lahaul within 24 hours from 8 am on December 25 to 8 am on December 26 in 2022

The Kullu District Legal Services Authority, Pollution Control Board (PCB) and some other NGOs carried out a cleanliness drive in the area yesterday and about 1,000-kg of waste from these pits was sent to the garbage treatment plant at Rangri in Manali.

Koksar panchayat chief Sachin Kumar said efforts were being made for efficient waste management. He said solid waste was being dumped in pits and now it was being removed. He said, “The garbage has increased as the area has become a tourist hub. The locals were actively involved in the collection of garbage and maintaining cleanliness in the area.” He said littering had increased in the area and dustbins were not a solution, adding that a plan was being worked out to check littering.

Thousands of tourists are visiting Koksar and Sissu areas in Lahaul after these had become easily accessible. The snow in these pristine areas attracts the tourists as these were now approachable through the tunnel, much before the opening of the Rohtang Pass. Only 1,200 vehicles are allowed towards the Rohtang Pass due to which a large number of tourists are flocking the Lahaul valley.

Over 5,000 vehicles are arriving in the Lahaul valley everyday. As many as 25.76 lakh vehicles have commuted through the strategically important 9.02-km-long Atal Tunnel within two years from January 2022 to on December 2023. The tunnel registered a record passage of 10,689 vehicles from Manali towards Lahaul within 24 hours from 8 am on December 25 to 8 am on December 26 in 2022.

The local youths were carrying out exercise to keep the area clean. A few other panchayats in Lahaul have also put up hoardings at various places to make the tourists aware about keeping the area clean, but the tourists do not refrain from littering.

A Sissu resident, Rajeev, said various facilities should be developed to increase the carrying capacity of the area. He said, “Such a quantum of people visiting Lahaul valley will require providing basic facilities at various places, especially tourist hotspots. The government should immediately ensure to provide facilities to promote eco-friendly sustainable tourism growth in the region.”

#Atal Tunnel #Kullu #Lahaul and Spiti


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