Shimla water crisis

Shimla water crisis: The joke is on us

Posted By : Sumit Singh/ 89 0

Everybody who used #hills #travel #fun #heaven and never thought #responsible is to be blamed…

Shimla locals ask tourists to stay away’

‘Congress MLAs have threatened to gherao the Municipal Corporation office, CM holds review meetings with different departments’

‘Mid-night protest march – citizens demand registration of FIR against the officials responsible for allegedly supplying sewage-mix water’

‘7 days of no water leave Shimla locals angry; tourists asked to stay away, find other options’

‘Government swings into action, divides Shimla into three zones to tackle water crisis. All are equal, no tankers for VIPs’

‘Court appeals residents to not wash cars,

‘Shimla’s daily requirement is around 42 MLD (million litres/day) water but supply fell to 22 MLD’

These are some of the headlines about the water crisis in the capital of Himachal Pradesh over the past one week. The Shimla water crisis that started as water shortage is over a week old and if reports are considered, it will loom over the next couple of weeks.

It is the worst thing to have happened to the hill station after the concretization. Exactly how big the problem is and which other regions are affected will be known later as the pundits have just begun their calculations.

I recently visited Shoghi for a small cleanliness drive on the Tara Devi temple route with one of our partner properties and couldn’t help but observe and capture the concrete jungle that Shimla has become. The thought of endless honking during traffic jams at the entry of Shimla city has filled me with restlessness over the years, so I would only look at it from a safe distance. The images gave me the same restlessness; mountains covered with more concrete than trees… they have been in mind ever since. And now the current Shimla water crisis only adds to the sorrow.

shimla water crisisThis is not a post full of crisis information, tips to recover from the Shimla water crisis or talk about how bad things have become. This is to remind us all that we are all responsible for this crisis. Anyone who has ever been to Shimla and been mesmerised looking at the green while overlooking the impending crisis is to be blamed. Everyone who got inebriated with the beauty of hills while honking endlessly at other vehicles in a never ending traffic jam is to be blamed. Everybody who used #hills, #travel, #fun, #heaven and never thought #responsible is to be blamed. Anyone who never cared about using the natural resources judicially is to be blamed.

Is it soon enough to respect Mother Nature and not feed on its carcass like wild dogs? What next after Shimla?

If we are still not doing our bit, we may never need to…

Clean up traveler

Clean up traveler, before it’s too late

Posted By : Escape Route/ 132 1

Forget about future generations, it is tough for this generation itself to find beauty in a hill covered with plastic bottles and packets

When was the last time you were actually planning a trip and surfing through different options? So you think of Shimla ─ mostly a concrete jungle, McLeodganj ─ brimming with humans all the time, Nainital ─ even the tal isn’t enticing anymore, Agra – ideal for a stampede, Jaipur – not so pink anymore…the list of places you don’t prefer going to anymore is endless. The reason is us ─ the travelers in all our glory.

We have not been respectful enough of the natural gifts. All these locations have been covered with concrete and are mostly man-made disasters waiting to happen. We cannot do much about the damage already done, can we?

At the same time, if you look around carefully, each off-beat location is getting polluted by humans into a garbage dump with plastic, used belongings, perishables etc. Social media is a culprit too, with all the amazing filters, it calls all viewers to visit the beautiful locations but never tells you about your ingrained responsibility to preserve that space.

Forget about future generations, it is tough for this generation itself to find beauty in a hill covered with plastic bottles and chips packets. We are all aware of the scarcity of natural resources, depleting clean water, less and less of fresh air and definitely lesser green areas. We also see hordes of warnings about not polluting the environment and caring about the landscapes, but who cares.

Picture this, at present one has to travel at least 200 kms and more from the nearest metro city to be in the lap of nature. Passionate bloggers and photographers are covering more than double the distance to show you how the clean world looks like. It takes you minimum of 4-5 hours to leave the grime and dust of the city to start breathing fresh air. What matters is how you behave while you are breathing fresh air in that area.

Some facts to get your attention:

  • Over 62 million tonnes of waste is generated annually in the country
  • Task of value extraction is left to the informal system of garbage collectors and recyclers
  • Only 80% of waste generated is collected and merely 28% processed
  • Swachh Bharat focuses too narrowly on individual action to keep streets clean without any pressure on State and Municipal authorities

There are stark threats to the world like the climate change, global warming etc. we cannot do much about it, but we can do what we can. We are listing out a few points for travelers to help conserve Mother Nature as we trot her majestic mountains and beautiful valleys:

  1. Just stop littering – Please stop throwing while you walk and look all fancy. It is just not cool, is bothersome and affects everyone around you. No natural spot ever looked exquisite with discarded food cans, plastic bottles and other used stuff. Please stack the used items in a disposable bag, just carry it a little distance and place it in the dustbins. There are organisations like Waste Warriors and Clean Up Himalayas doing their bit, you need to do yours.
  2. Act local – Locals do not pollute the environment they live in.
  3. Conserve resources – One thing we must learn from our villages – Take only as much as you can consume, whether it is food or resources. What is the point of going to new places and not picking up their best practices?

We don’t have all the gyaan for you, but hopefully you get the thought. Please share what else do you think can be useful in maintaining the sanctity of all travel zones. We will update the article with your propositions.

PS – For each of Escape Route trips, we carry our own garbage bags and ensure that our fellow travelers make use of it for any kind of leftovers/throwaways. Littering is just not done.