Koksar Panchayat in Spiti imposes bans on all camping sites near Chandratal Lake in order to protect from pollution and harm caused by human intervention to the wildlife surrounding the area and environment at large. This ban was introduced at the end of July to orient towards environmentally safe approaches to travel and tourism.
In response to this, camping site owners have called for help from the district government of Lahaul and Spiti. The owners claim that all camping activities are held in eco-friendly modes and licenses have been sanctioned by the Forest Department itself.
The Chandratal Lake which remains inaccessible for eight months of the year has still faced degradation in its environment. Kitchen waste and garbage have become bigger trials for the panchayat as Anju Shashni (head of the Koksar Panchayat) mentions, “To save the ecology of the lake we have decided to ban camping close to Chandertal Lake. The kitchen waste and other garbage of these camps are posing threat to the ecology of the lake area. Wild animals descend on the shore of the lake to drink water. Polluted water of lake may pose a threat to wildlife. So we are taking advance preventive measures to protect the sanctity of the lake and wildlife in the area.”
President of Save Chandratal Society (it helps to maintain cleanliness in the area), Mr. Bishnu Thakur responds, “We have been promoting the area for tourist activity for the past 15 years. The allegations of the panchayat are beyond facts that the drainage of kitchen waste is flowing into the lake from the camping sites. These are set up downstream the lake.”. He further adds, “The members regularly clean the area and transport garbage to Manali for disposal. The toilet facility is available at the camping site and there is no question of open defecation…If camping sites will be removed, who will take care of the lake and provide help to the needy.”
This growing issue brings our focus to the need for supervising human intervention at ecological centres to ensure that the environment is not harmed at the cost of entertainment or tourism. Especially with alarming reports regarding the Earth and its doom, these topics become extremely relevant to find solutions for.
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*Both the images in the cover photo are taken from Shutterstock.