I am starting this thread for everyone to participate and share their tips/views/thoughts/suggestions/inputs on how we can make traveling to Himalayas better, effective and responsibly.
Well, apart from supporting or participating in the DoW – Causes for moving ahead with Responsible Travel in Himalayas, we can collate together some practical and helpful tips under this thread which can be followed in order to add or support more values to the meaning of Responsible Travel in Himalayas and help us protect them to some extent.
I will kick-start with initial three most important ones and we can keep posting others in the subsequent posts. Looking forward to all your tips/views/thoughts/suggestions/inputs
1. DO NOT Litter around in Himalayas
The first and the foremost thing: Please DO NOT litter around in the mountains. Love them and protect them as you do your home. Each and every individual in your group MUST ensure that they bring their own trash back home especialy the plastics wrappers or put them into proper dedicated dustbin in Hotel or Airport or available nearyby.
Best thing is to carry couple of bags or bins with you in your Car or vehicle where you can put in all the trash of wafers, toffees, chocolates etc. This will help you keep all the trash in a single place and once some garbage bin is available nearby, you can throw it there or empty the bin.
2. Carry a Single Refillable Water Bottle Or Sipper
I feel one of the major waste/garbage litterred in Himalayas is Plastic Water Bottles as they tend to get crushed making them unsable after 2-3 refillings. I believe, if you carry your own single waterbottle/sipper which can be re-filled being durable enough rather thrown away after being crushed will help us tremendously lowering the littering that happens in Himalayas. In case, you can buy some decent pet bottle or metal bottle or sipper that has longer durability, you will not feel to throw them away.
This way a single group can reduce all those water bottles being thrown away here and there. Well, yes, you can buy a single bottle from the shopkeeper, refill your own and keep that plastic bottle again in the shop or nearby dustbin. This will atleast help a single bottle not being thrown away here and there
3. Carry out Cleanliness Drives for a Day at High Passes and Lakes
While going over to Himalayas, especially the Trans Himalayas, the high mountain passes are almost desolated but while taking pictures around the milestones, people does pollute or litter around plastics and all around such passes. Similarly, there is a sorry state of our most beautiful lakes as well in Himalayas.
What you can do as a Responsible tourist is that you or your group can involve locals around the lakes or at passes (if any otherwise DIY ) and organize that day as cleanliness drive. You can pick up at least all the plastics, pet bottles, etc.. or other trash thrown by some NERDS around these passes and lakes, put them into the bin or bag you carrying for it and finally throw it into the nearest dustbin. Whatever you bring back will surely help a tiny bit in protecting and preserving the nature plus beauty of our Himalayas.
4. Benefit & Promote the Local Himalayan Lives with your Travel
It is always better to stay with local families, talk to them & people around the remote Himalayan village in order to understand and support their cultural values & beliefs. This creates a great sense of connection to the place in your travel and you are not just traveling for the sake of it BUT to learn something good in your life. Staying in Homestays or Small Guest Houses run by local families actually benefit them monetarily as well and you get a chance to indulge in their day to day life getting lessons of life which otherwise sleeping in a comfortable hotel are far off the tracks.
Hire local villagers for trekking, their porters or their local horsemen so that the local Himalayan people who are in real need actually gets the benefit from your Travel and this is no less than a cause you are doing for their community or locality.
Eat at local dhabhas, restaurants, small eateries, etc.. run by local people and even by items in need including packed food from the small shops available in such villages. This will help them greatly/
Finally, come back and publish such details back over in communities over Internet, do not forget ours . This way you will be promoting and helping them even after travel which goes in long way in cementing transformations in their lives.
Well, I know there are quite very popular but polluted with greed destinations in Himalayas… However, that is not in general. Most locations or destinations in Himalayas are still far away from such kind of polluted greed of locals where they tend to exploit the tourists at worse. Hence, it is safe to go with the idea of promoting as well as benefiting the local lives of Himalayan people especially in the remote and tribal belts.