Many of you must be planning on going on Treks this year. And its a good feeling to see so many people now taking to our Mountain Outdoors and enjoying the thrill which comes from walking the Mountains.
However with the growing number of people going into the Mountains the pressure on the fragile Mountain Environments is growing. Many of us, both knowingly and unknowingly are bringing harm to the Mountains. So the least you can do is follow the concept of "Ethical Trekking" and refuse to Trek with a Company which doesn't follow these basic concepts :
1. No Fixed Camps : Traditionally Trekking never involves fixed Camps. These are a bane which has been brought about by large Trekking Companies and Aggregators. Always go for Camp at afternoon, Decamp at Morning operation. Fixed Camps are a bane, as already mentioned, to the Mountains and cause untold immense damage. Do not go with a Company that follows fixed Camp format. The Environment will thank you for it.
2. No Instant Noodles : See no to your favorite brand of Instant Noodles when in the Mountains. Their plastic packaging is one of the most Polluting items up in the Mountains. Always check the Menu and refuse to have these. Stick to Rice, Dal, Chapati etc simple fresh foods. Keep energy Bars and Dry Fruits for emergencies.
3. Lookout for the Porters : The Porters are the most hardworking and least paid component of the Trek. There is nothing you can do about the pay but insist that the Porters get the same Food that you get and their sleeping conditions are satisfactory. And just that you know each Porter shouldn't carry more than 25 kgs. That's the least you can do.
4. The Ponies and the Mules Matter Too : Make sure that the Pack Animals are not overloaded. And watch out for any sign of injury or illness in an Animal. They are an indispensable part of your Team. You need to watch out for all Team Members.
5. Take Back all your Non-Biodegradable Waste : Ensure that all Non-Biodegradable Waste is taken back to the base Town or Village where its disposed off. We are all well aware that even at the Bases there is no proper disposal System but it's much better than leaving in up their on the Mountains. As for Human Waste, in an ideal situation even that should be bought back, but since situations are not ideal you should at least use Cat pits for the same. Always cover the Human Waste with Mud or Sand before leaving a Campsite.
6. Make Sure you know your Trek Leader : Ask for the Qualification / experience of the Trek Leaders. He is the guy your life will depend on during the duration of the Trek so you better go through his CV.
We at Travel The Himalayas are proud that we will follow all the above Norms and though it pushes the Costing up we are OK as we know that there are many people aware of the damage being caused to the Fragile Mountain Eco Systems and they are ready to play their part for it.