The popularity of Guided Trekking in India has seen an upward trend. While many trek organizers have learned the importance of keeping the trail clean, it has not translated into a success.
Some trek organizers believe taking a huge number of trekkers is justifiable. If you can bring your trash down then stars are the limit. This is a problem. And in the context of Roopkund, the number of trekkers is on the rise.
Roopkund today needs a breather. Ethical Trek Companies should opt in scaling down the number of batches they run. The Camping grounds of these treks are not going to expand. The infrastructure at the campsite is non-existent. You don’t have proper toilet facilities on a trek where fixed camps are set. How much amount of human excreta can the mountain consume? How much non-bio degradable waste lays on the trail untreated? Who can do the math and compute the ecological damage in the last 6 years alone in Roopkund?
I have seen the reluctance of few Organizers in addressing this concern. How is the need to expand business takes precedence over the ecological impact? Why do they get so defensive when someone talks about regulating the number of trekkers?
The low cost, bulk trekking business model is damaging. It does little in boosting the local micro-enterprise. It is difficult for local operators to now compete with Outside companies. A cost-cutting war hurts the quality and undermines the safety provided to trekkers. Chadar Trek is a good example of this.
Why can’t the Guided trekking be repositioned as a premium product? Why the compromises made by Organizers (in taking unfit and unprepared people) be overlooked?
Most of the Trek Operators have no clue how to work on it. They play the waiting game of seeing the Big Operators make the first move and try to follow them blindly. Unfortunately, what they are learning to focus is how to market/sell treks on social media, launching new treks etc.
The Guided Trekking in India needs regulations. If the government cannot step up, I hope The National Green Tribunal do.