With the world travelling like there’s no tomorrow, with purse strings loosened like never before, and travel destinations beckoning us with a glint, India is travelling and how. It’s offbeat time! Today, be it the rustics, the uncharted treks, river courses, glaciers, mountain passes, the subcontinent’s nooks and crannies are suddenly witnessing footfalls that apart from the unbounded joy it provides to the vagabond, has another major perspective to it, one that conveniently has not been given a thought by the majority of the crowd – the bashing Nature takes. Did you know that an exotic journey to a place 10,000 kilometres away consumes about 700 litres of fuel per person? If it is us disturbing Her, isn’t it us that should clean up the damage we leave behind, or at the least minimize the negative impact to the ecosystems we visit, the flora and fauna we disturb by our invading presence? What if being eco-conscious didn’t require much to pack into our travel plans? Here’s how you could go a long way doing your part:
- Keep in a few medium-sized paper bags to throw in your disposables.
- Stock up on a thermos to be refilled with beverages at stops.
- Keep in reusable or easily washable glasses and plates and spoons.
- On camping, try to disturb as less of the surroundings as possible; while dismantling, do try and return the place to as close as possible to its previous bountiful state. Made a camp fire? Douse it well and spread out the ashes.
- Make a sincere effort to erase out your presence by collecting any wastes you might have dumped along side.
- Fill in any pits you might have dug for your tent poles or otherwise; return the grass cover to its previous state as much as possible.
- Better still, stack in purification tablets. They’ll ensure your potable drinking water concerns out in the wild.
- Learnt of compost pits in school – a camp-site’s the best place to create one. Though careful – put in just your bio-degradable waste!
- If easy-to-go junk food is your thing, keep the wafer bags stuffed back into your jeans, or better, use those dispose-off bags to keep it till you find that next waste bin. That hill-side cliff is not meant for your wafer packs!
- Try to find an eco-friendly alternative to any commute – go for that rent-a-cycle instead of that diesel-guzzling auto to the nearest travel spot – hey, you packed in a little fitness treat for your body there!
- If near a water body, that’s not for you to dump in your disposables or food items. Mind its pristine cleanliness. Need to relieve yourself – do so at least 200 metres from the water. Enjoy its cascade, don’t ruin.
- While on the road, please-oh-please, you’d dump that bottle out the car window? For that’s what roadsides are meant to be? NO! Stuff it back into your car pockets; you’d get a waste bin on the next stop.
- And why go for those mineral water bottles to buy anyway? Go get yourself a decent capacity personal water bottle that could be tanked up at every good stop along the way. You’d save yourself the hassle of loading up your vehicle and luggage with empty plastic bottles.
- Fruits and veggies your thing? That doesn’t allow you to litter around with those peels. Put them back into your waste bag.
- A battery gone kaput? Not to be dumped out the car window. Again, goes right back into your waste bag. Better still, try and switch to equipment that doesn’t need disposable batteries – go rechargeable.
- Where possible, take on the services of the locals. It’s their land by birth. If anyone, it’s they who deserve the employment options attached. And the treasure of knowledge you could hit upon with them – of legends and anecdotes – they tell some story! Fact or fiction, that’s still a slice of life!
- Chanced upon that marvellous souvenir fashioned out of ivory or fur? Stay off. That’s not meant to up your living room quotient.
So there, you need a travel list update?
- A few waste bags of decent capacity
- A water bottle that fulfils your need for a long stretch.
- A flash light so you wouldn’t need to light up as and when on a trek.
- Toilet paper, for you know not where you might get the urge.
- Reusable cutlery/crockery
- Thermos for tea/coffee to keep you refreshed on those long stretches.
- Water purification tablets
- A mini shovel for composts
Tread light, for thou tread on me!