It is an open letter written to you from an irritated trek lover, turned-off by the displeasing experience of finding trash bags and noisy trekkers around me. “Did I trek eight kilometres to see this?”
I was standing on a green-top knoll with the magnificent Dhauladhar mountain ranges in the backdrop. On the opposite side of the knoll, I was really shocked by seeing hordes of white and yellow sacks full of trash, and it includes:
- Beer bottles and cans
- Juice and chips packets
- Plastic plates and cups
- Chocolate wrappers
- And last but not the least, loud music blaring on Bluetooth speakers, why?
After a few days, I visited the Kareri Lake in Himachal Pradesh, one of India’s most popular trekking trails. Here I found hundreds of empty alcohol bottles.
As said by locals, Irresponsible Travelers carry Bluetooth speakers, alcohol and soft drugs to the campsite. However, drinking is prohibited here, yet we find empty bottles around the site.
Now, it has been collected by volunteers of Waste Warriors (WW), a Dharamshala-based NGO, but still, the matter doesn’t get close here, as there are infinite places around the world where this problem persists. It’s indeed our responsibility not to throw trash on nature.
Here are some pointers that will help to make a responsible trekking practice for years to come.
Clean up waste
The most beneficial thing we all can do to control waste responsibly in the mountains is to clean up the waste we see. Do not wonder why I should clean the waste scattered by others. A responsible traveler would always pick up trash.
Use reusable water bottles
Plastic is one of the most frequent types of trash seen in the mountains. Whether it’s a Himalayan trek or any other place trek, plastic bottles are everywhere.
You can switch to reusable bottles instead. It will support you to decrease your carbon footprint and save bucks on purchasing plastic water bottles!
As I returned to the tent after my long day at around 6 pm, I heard loud music in the meadow. The tranquility of the site was totally smashed, and it appeared like a wedding ceremony with a DJ playing Bollywood songs.
At the peak of his voice, the anchor was screaming, “Aaj ki Raat, Dharamshala ke Naam” (Let us dedicate the night to Dharamshala).
The music lasted till midnight and troubled the peace of the site. I wondered how difficult high decibels could be to animals residing in the meadow! This type of behavior is surely unacceptable by nature and its dependents, especially animals.
Avoid carrying plastic bags.
Did you know that plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose? So, When you’re on a several-day trek, we suggest switching to a dry bag instead.
These dry bags can help you keep your used clothes dry and warm throughout the trek and are light to carry.
But what if there’s no bin or container? The answer is simple: if you succeeded to get it in, you could comfortably manage to take it out. Carry it back home and then throw it in the bin. Or throw it on the floor of your bedroom; no one cares as long as it’s not left outdoor.
Thank you for taking your valuable time reading this letter (which is mostly my rant), and I hope you’ve accepted a few of the mentioned points on board. Let’s just make it perfect.