The Department of Tourism celebrated World Environment Day today with a host of activities all across Kashmir Valley.The significant feature of this year’s celebration was the collaboration with and involvement of stakeholders and concerned groups of civil society in cleanliness drives, plantation of saplings, holding of painting and other art exhibitions, cycling events and Nature walks at various destinations with a pledge to preserve the fragile ecosystem and environment for a safe and responsible tourism.
The main functions in this regard were held at Zabarwan Park in Srinagar, Nigeen Club, Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Verinag, Eco Park Baramulla, Yousmarg, Manasbal, Doodpathri and Ahrabal.At Zabarwan Park where the main function was held in collaboration with J&K Chapter of Bharat Scouts & Guides and local stakeholder, Secretary, Tourism, Sarmad Hafeez was the chief guest who distributed prizes among the winners of an art competition held on the waters of Dal lake.
Speaking on the occasion, the Tourism Secretary said the Department this year thought of celebrating Environment Week in collaboration with the tourism stakeholders and concerned groups to make it a people’s movement so that the environment is saved not for present times but for coming generations and times. He said by preserving the fragile ecology of tourist destinations we not only protect the livelihood of service providers but also preserve these green gifts for our future generations.
Director, Tourism, Kashmir, Dr. G N Itoo, who later flagged off a Nature Walk of students, and other officers of the Department were present on the occasion.Bharat Scouts & Guides had collaborated with the Department for today’s function at all the destinations across Kashmir.Earlier, the Tourism Secretary flagged off a cleanliness drive in Dal lake from Ghat No. 01. The cleanliness drive was organized in collaboration with Lake Conservation & Management Authority (LCMA) and a Mumbai based group working for Nature conservation, Sanctuary Plus and MakeMyTrip Foundation.
Sarmad Hafeez along with officers and representatives of these organizations had a round of Dal lake through Tchunte Khul, Chinar Bagh and Nehru Park. He thanked the groups of stakeholders and NGOs who had volunteered to collaborate with the Department for celebrating today’s event.The Tourism Secretary advised the Department to be in collaborative mode with these NGOs not on these events only but continue it as a regular feature for keeping tourism destinations clean and safe. He urged all visitors, tourists and other locals to ensure that no garbage of any kind, particularly plastic material is thrown in Dal lake or at any other place at tourist destinations.
Similar functions were held at other destinations as well.At Gulmarg, a sanitation drive was carried within the bowl besides a plantation drive and cycle ride at the tourist destination.At Sonmarg, a massive Cleanliness drive was organized today in the meadows of Sonamarg. The drive went through the Sonamarg market, bus stand and Fish Point.Employees of SDA, Hotelier Association Sonamarg, Shopkeepers and locals participated in the drive and collected the waste including polythene, plastic bags and plastic bottles from these places which was later dumped for proper disposal in a Solid Waste Management Plant installed at Sarbal Sonamarg.Similar functions to mark the day were held at Verinag, Eco Park, Baramulla, Ahrabal and other destinations where officers of the Tourism Department and representatives of respective district administrations and representatives of local tourism stakeholders jointly took out sanitation drives, held art competitions and cycling rallies.