Manali: The Plastic Heaven

A few days back, I was in a famous hill station in India, Manali. It has got a cool climate, fabulous hills and trees, apart from other attractions like temples and monasteries. It draws a large number of people from all over India for the holiday season. With it comes the malaise of plastic and cans thrown all around and drowning the place. Be it youngster or elders everyone seems to enjoy littering.

Every touristy road was littered with wrappers of chips and cola cans and much more. So much, so that after a while plastic litter is the dominant thing about the place that one notices. I remember a big car opening its window and throwing out the chips packets just like that. Needless to add that it detracts so much from the charm of the place. I will never think of visiting Manali for a vacation, at least, not in the tourist season (this time I was there because it is on the way to Ladakh).

Mountains Near Manali, Himachal Pradesh
Mountains Near Manali, Himachal Pradesh

And one wonders what is the way out? All those who keep their homes spotlessly clean, litter with abandon on the streets! That is one dominant trademark of us Indians. It frustrates me to no end that we treat streets as a dustbin, even in such pristine surroundings. And why only mountains, look at the public beaches and it is the same story that gets repeated.

One day, if I have the time and the money, I wish to form a group of volunteers and clean up a small area in some place (or as large as we can) after the tourist season is over.

PS. (17/10/2012) Manali has banned the use of plastic and tried to control the litter. So the place is relatively clean now. But littering by the tourists still continues.