Seeking to encourage tour operators and tourists to adopt better practices for disposal of waste in the Himalayas and protect the fragile ecosystem, the World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF-India) Friday launched the Green Hiker campaign here.
'Irresponsible tourism is increasingly rendering the high altitude regions and the fragile wetlands of the Himalayas vulnerable. The impact of travel in the Himalayan region needs to be dealt with by the travellers themselves,' said Ravi Singh, secretary general and chief executive officer, WWF-India.
The campaign, which will cover the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh, aims to reach out to tour operators and tourists and encourage them to adopt responsible practices towards reducing the impact of tourism on the fragile ecosystem of the Himalayas.
Thus, it has been timed with the peak tourist season in the Himalayas.
Maninder Singh Kohli, a veteran hiker, said: 'In my last five years of trekking I have seen the situation in the Himalayas degrading constantly. Although tourists litter the place, the worst offenders are the pilgrims who just don't care at all.'
Arjun Vajpai, 16, the youngest Indian to conquer Mount Everest, has also been roped in for the campaign. He said: 'Climbers should be properly trained in waste disposal by the government. More importantly, the number of people climbing the peak should be curtailed.'
As part of the campaign, an animation film on responsible tourism will be screened in airports, hotels, coffee houses, book shops and restaurants. Posters, bookmarks and post cards will also be distributed.
Workshops will also be conducted for tour operators.