Camping is one of the biggest recreational activity in Northeast India. You can find hundreds of camping sites spread across the region during the winters. Kumarika Bordoloi writes on to highlight unethical practices that most of the campers follow.
Camping is growing as a popular recreational activity, but uncontrolled and unethical camping poses threats to many natural areas. Leaving behind the garbage, food leftover damages flora and fauna of otherwise fragile landscape of Northeast India.
Camping is a part of Northeast’s leisure life. The tourist footfall in northeast India is increasing day by day, and many are opting for camping for overnight stay or day trip. While the tourists prefer the overnight stay, locals prefer a day trip where they bring raw meat and cook. Most of the river banks, valleys are surrounded by organized and unorganized campsites.
Unfortunately, there is no system to regulate the camping activity. Infact many, especially the government agencies and local self government feel that it is their duty to promote camping irrespective of the waste or damage they create.
A thriving meadow can transform into a compressed and exposed patch of dirt with a tent on top of it. People have the tendency to go to the campsites near natural resources like streams and rivers. The problems are caused by a combination of too many people wanting to camp within the same area at the same time, and irresponsible behavior by some campers spoil it for others and damage the environment.
Deepor Beel, ecologically fragile Ramsar site in northeast India, is one of the examples of unethical camping. Home of thousands of aquatic avians is now a dumping yard and thanks to the crowd who go there and cook and booze. Plastic plates, food waste, plastic cups, polythene bags, etc. pile up the area.A recent study reveals that 22 endangered species of birds are found dead in this region due to the consumption of plastic. A fisherman living the area says, “We no longer get fishes but rather a lot of plastic in our nets.”=
It is sad that in the northeast anyone can pitch his tent anywhere in public land and do whatever he wants. Other than throwing plastic waste, there are no proper sanitation arrangements in the camping sites resulting in improper dispose of toilet wastes reducing the beauty and hygiene of the camping site. It also causes water pollution and spreads the epidemic.
Beyond flattening vegetation, campers are also chopping off branches and saplings for campfires in parks, reserves, and forest areas despite telling them not to. Campfires are indeed a source of air pollution. No doubt, there is something magic in bonfires,it spreads the warmth of it to all around and is definitely a must to do list of all campers, but its adverse effects to the environment cannot be denied.
Not only in the woods, but camping in the river bank can also change the natural ecology of an area. It affects the aqua biodiversity and creates an unhygienic environment around. Our region is flourished or rather dependent on the river Brahmaputra and its bank; numerous camping spots have been developed. This spot no longer retains its beauty but has turned into a filthy area of debris.
Camping in an ethical manner can lead to a safer, cleaner environment along with good time spent. For attaining this, we must follow camping etiquettes or “Dos and Don’ts.” here are few of them,
- Do not dump or burn plastic wastes.
- Create a system to regulate camping. Village committees can be formed in each site for this. There should be a system for collecting waste
- Modern Toilets should be established at camping sites.
- There should be a local protocol for camping.
- Tourism activity should be beneficial for the local community.
There is no wrong to say that humans are selfish. We satisfy our pleasures in the cost of nature. Camping can be fun without harming the environment, but this requires a positive and responsible attitude of the campers. The young generation should learn the necessities that they should follow for eco-friendly camping.