Take it with you
Garbage management while traveling
INDIA (eTN) - Destinations as well as tourists have important roles to play when it comes to having a pleasant experience at a particular holiday spot. The common issue among many travelers visiting remote parts of India, be it hill stations, beach fronts, national parks, or monument sites is the absence of proper garbage disposal facilities and the accumulation of non-biodegradable waste. This is in the form of used mineral water bottles, biscuit & chocolate wrappers, beverage and beer cans, containers, and other such material. Waste collected at these sites is not easily degradable, leaving a lasting impact on the environment.
L’orient Travels has embarked on a campaign of sensitizing students, tourism academies, local institutes, and other social media wherein the company encourages tourists and travelers going on day visits, picnics, and overnight trips to bring their own non-biodegradable garbage back with them. Strange as it may sound, this suggestion is to bring a trash bag for leftovers to be kept at a convenient place or carried along during treks, hikes, and forest rides. The garbage accumulated during the stay needs to be put in the trash bag and brought back. It is estimated each visitor generates about 500 grams of non-biodegradable waste for each day of stay. This practice is most suitable when visiting ecologically fragile areas that do not have sufficient waste disposal and garbage facilities. Once this method is followed, the carrying capacity of the destination automatically increases because tourists leave nothing but footprints behind – be it a secluded beach, virgin forest, winding hills, or monument sites located in secluded areas and lofty forts.
There are many places in India where the density of tourists to locals is extremely high. In places like Ladakh for instance it is 5 visitors for every local. Imagine the amount of garbage collected, where even disposing off the 14 truckloads of degradable waste is a humungous task. In many tourist destinations, non-biodegradable is stashed away in desolate places inviting the wrath of scavenging animals, bandicoots, and roaches, to name a few. To put it rather plainly, many tourist destinations have inadequate waste storage and treatment facilities. The sooner we accept it, the better it is for locals and tourists.
The question that naturally arises is how does one bring the garbage back? If traveling by car, the trunk is the best place to store trash. Almost odorless, non-biodegradable trash can also be stored in this rear portion of a vehicle. If using public conveyance, the task becomes a bit more stiff, though fellow passengers will not mind as long as there is no unpleasant odor. The options change if traveling back by air, as in this scenario, the garbage needs to disposed of in trash cans kept outside airport entrance halls. Bigger towns and cities do have better treatment and disposal facilities.
What are the advantages to be gained by following such a practice? For one, shelf life of destinations will definitely increase. Tourists will lead the way for locals to follow and set outstanding examples of conservation and preservation. Strong bonding patterns will be witnessed between destinations and tourists, and finally, this practice will prevent the untimely demise of destinations, something, we are all quite familiar with. While garbage disposal measures will improve over a period of time, the time has come for tourists to play a more responsible role, especially in spots where measures are lacking. It is pertinent to remember we are not the last generation - many others will follow.