Bhaderwah received more than 2 lakh tourists in the last 20 days. Thanks to the social media pages which encouraged tourists all over India to explore the beauty of this place. The twist is that the same pages are now requesting people to kindly stay at home and not plan any vacation to Bhaderwah.
Bhaderwah is blessed with lush green meadows, streams, mountains, pines and wildflowers and is now a known destination. A month back, a chap on social media conducted an online poll on whether tourists deserve a special bus service to explore Bhaderwah or not. Most of the people clicked on the “Yes” option but maybe if mountains and pines of Bhaderwah were a person they would have definitely clicked on the option “NO”.
No to tourists? No to “Athithi Devo Bhava”? But this “NO” is valid because along with 2 lakh tourists came tonnes of garbage. Green grass with tiny white flowers is now filled with black, yellow and pink polythene bags.
Some people argue that there are no proper dustbins in Bhaderwah valley. It is not the fault of tourists but the fault of the management. So blame the government and administration for everything, not the decent tourists. Yes, we ate the lays and kurkure, we accept that the littering in mountains belongs to us. No dustbins you see, it is not our responsibility to look for dustbins and then throw the polythene into it. The weight of chips packets is too much how could you expect anyone to keep it in a bag till he or she finds a dustbin. The empty cold drink bottles are too heavy, don’t blame us ask the honourable PM to do the swachta after all he promised “Swach Bharat” not us.
The peaks and trees here are witnessing cruel destruction of the environment by the hands of an intelligent animal called “Homo sapiens“.
Locals were seen collecting garbage thrown by the tourists at Jhai valley in Bhaderwah. The warmth for tourists suddenly decreased when they saw their green gold converted into a garbage bin.
The mountains are not calling you, stay at home. The meadows are not dumping grounds for your packets of Potato chips. Let the snowy peaks in Bhaderwah remain undiscovered if you are coming here with your plastic bottles. The breeze is not fond of your littering culture.
Let us recall that plastic doesn’t grow on trees, mountains didn’t give birth to polythene. Human is the mother of this trouble. So you have to find out the solutions to dispose of it without harming nature.
When nature revolts it hits hard, without asking your name, gender, age or caste. Nature is always neutral.
Well, India is among the top polluted countries, so I understand the potential of our people to turn glaciers into water and forests to deserts. People are so confident about their actions as if they have discovered multiple life-supporting planets and are ready to shift from the earth.
If we talk about Jammu and Kashmir we successfully converted our lifeline Tawi into a foul-smelling water body with hardly any water compared to its old flow. We polluted Ladakh and made Srinagar top among the most polluted cities in the world. Now it’s your turn, Bhaderwah.
So continue exploring your potential to degrade the blessings of nature but remember the beaches, the tropical, the deciduous, the biodiversity hot spots, the environment parks, the sanctuaries, the biosphere reserves, the plains, the plateaus, the ponds, the lakes, the glaciers and the mountains are not calling you. Spare them.
Article contributed by Renu Kotwal.