Kashmir known as Paradise on Earth bestowed with scenic beauty attracts people at local, national and international levels to gain peace of mind. Recreational activities have gained impetus at local level; Kashmirs. especially on holidays, plan outings with friends and family to hill stations such as Aharbal, Pahalgam, Kokernag, Verinag etc.
Unfortunately the visit to any scenic spot begins by spending on junk food. People visiting the places start routine behavior by purchasing soft drinks, chips and ice-cream, without noticing the small silent killers behind them. The aforementioned items are consumed without taking care of environment. After reaching the destination the routine exercise starts by finding a neat and clean spot to spread the carpet bought from home by arranging the items and leaving the place filthy.
The process is followed by purchasing “Bag of Happiness” either from home or local markets. The People consume junk food and dispose off plastic waste without using dustbins installed by the concerned authorities. Silent killers are spread on ground everywhere. In comparison we use to maintain a hygienic atmosphere at our homes by cleaning surroundings, using dustbins. Outside people dispose off household waste even in water bodies. Traditionally canals provided drinking water and now they have become dumping yards.
As sun starts to set the hill stations start crying: “please take your belongings back”. But visitors leave the place without reflecting any sense of social responsibility. Consuming junk foods may have health issues, but they are directly affecting our present and future generations. Small plastic covers and plastic bottles remain littered over ground.
On inquiring about the negligence, local shopkeepers blame concerned departments by saying that from last 4 to 5 days nobody has cleaned the place, official in charge talks about outsourcing of cleanliness drive. But the fact is that nothing moves and the place is still covered with plastic waste. We, the people of Kashmir have lost the sense of social responsibility, enjoying nature is everybody’s right but we as humans forget about our responsibilities in keeping our surroundings neat and clean.
The problem needs an immediate attention from authorities. This can be done by banning sale of plastic items at hill stations. People can resort to native cuisine. We all need to encourage sustainable tourism.