Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world and India is no exception. In fact, it contributes to a great extent in the global economy. States like Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim depends heavily on the income generated by catering to the travellers. India is no exception. But there is a problem here. Tourists create livelihood and contribute generously to the states’ kitty. But they leave behind a trail of muck. No wonder everyone, everywhere in the world is talking about Tourism footprint. Dirt Trail
The travellers are attracted by pristine, exotic environment, but their presences leave an indelible mark. Piles of solid waste, plastic packets, bottles, discarded food, clothes, even oxygen cylinder and camping equipment, are tell tale signs of the arrival and departure of an entourage.
Small hill States like Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim suffer the most in terms of tourist pollution. But at the same time it is important for these states to sustain a tourist-friendly environment. So a middle ground has to be found. And the state is working hard to find it.
A number of policies and programme have been put in place to urge the tourists behave responsibly. State is also targeting the schools for sensitizing the next generation towards ecological responsibility as citizens.
Sikkim shows the Way
To preserve the fragile ecology, many environment related initiatives have been introduced in Sikkim. The Government has banned the use of non-biodegradable materials like plastic, poly-bags, bio-medical and chemical waste in 1979. In 1999 the state launched the “Smriti Van” programme to bring people close to nature and this has been taken up in 166 Panchayats. Year 1995-96 was declared as “Harit Kranti” year and period 2000-2010 as ‘Harit KrantiDashak.
Himachal gets its act together
The Government of Himachal Pradesh has initiated various environment related campaigns and programmes. To deal with the plastic menace, the government has formulated the HP Non-bio-degradable Garbage Control Act in 1995. The State has also imposed prohibition on using coloured polythene carry bags. Himachal Pradesh is the first State in the Country to initiate processes to achieve Carbon Neutrality in response to India’s commitment to Climate Change Mitigation measures.