How to travel sustainably in Himachal
The streets and streams, treks and trails, all around Himachal have a problem - LITTER. One would think how someone would want to spoil the beauty of this state, but sadly, that isn't the case. Consciously or unconsciously, we all end up contributing to this mess. So here's my guide to travel sustainably in Mashobra, and Himachal Pradesh in general.
Get yourself a reusable water bottle, one that keeps water cold/warm is ideal and will last you several years. Ask for refills everywhere you stop! RO purified water is readily available and all restaurants are required to serve water to their patrons.
Road trips to the hills require a lot of driving, means a lot of focus, means a lot of coffee! Buy a coffee tumbler - You can get fun ones from coffee chains themselves, and even a discount on future coffees at times. Avoid the cup, lid, straw in one go and keep your coffee super hot or ice cold for a long time!
Don't buy Chips for god's sake - Eat LOCAL!
I cannot even begin to tell you about the amount of chips packets we see thrown around. Not only are chips and the kind - gutka, namkeen, chocolates, instant noodles, gums unhealthy, they generate trash that the state is not capable of handling. Instead - buy delicious local fruits around Mashobra! Apples, peaches, plums, cherries, persimmons, apricots, all make seasonal appearances year round.
Car bins are the new trend!
One invariably generates trash while road tripping. One easy solution - Buy a super cool car bin which will encourage everyone to dump their trash at one place. Btw, did you know that these bin bags are required by law in Sikkim in all taxis? What a wonderful initiative!
Take the bud with you
It look years for me to realize that cigarette butts are a real problem. They do not decompose and are tossed from cars and by people walking around in their millions per day. Your car usually comes with an ashtray - make use of it. And in the hills, stub your cigarette properly (or you might just cause a forest fire, thank you very much), and store it in a bag pocket/empty ciggie case till you find a bin.
Pick sustainable places to stay
Your hotel is probably burning its trash. There, I said it. And its the reality. Apart from that lots of single use plastic is consumed at hotels. Pick sustainable properties, they will usually talk about it on their website as there USP and can help you make a better choice. The Nilaya is a sustainable property, where we use very minimum single use plastic, don't serve plastic soda bottles, all our cutlery and packaging is compostable (for picnics), use paper and bamboo straws, and have tons of other measures to respect this beautiful area.
If you are in Mashobra looking for a branded pair of jeans, you aren't helping a thing. The carbon footprint of getting that pair to the hills is unreasonable. Instead, shop for woollens, fruits, local wine, and other products made in Himachal. You wont be short of options.
Don't support illegal wildlife activities
And yes, I mean hunting. I have met many a people who have visited The Nilaya, who claim of eating wild boar and deer in Himachal. Not only it illegal, you could end up in jail, but it is a disgusting activity to partake in. If you hear about hunting in Himachal, call the Forest Department here: +91-177-2624186, 2623147
We would appreciate inputs from everyone to keep adding ideas as the years progress.