ISLAMABAD, Sep 13 (APP): The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) Tuesday organized a consultative workshop of various organizations’ representatives and tour operators to discuss the issue of increasing pollution on Baltoro and K2 Base Camp Trek.
The PTDC’s senior officials , Alpine Club of Pakistan, Himalayan Wildlife Foundation, Tour Operators Associations, Adventure Club, Karakuram Club, GB Tourism Department and others participated in the meeting, said a news release.
PTDC Managing Director Aftab Rana said that Pakistan had the best season for K2 climbing this year, but poor solid waste management on the trekking route emerged as the major issue.
“It is a good news that Pakistan’s name in the world of mountaineering was highlighted and climbers from across the world participated in this climbing season, but besides this, negative news on environmental issues were also reported that highlighted pollution and waste management issues on the trekking route to K2 base camp, ” he noted.
He said it was challenging situation and there was a need to propose a strategy to the government to adopt ecofriendly management of expeditions on this route which was now part of Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP).
This year, more than 3,800 trekkers and mountaineers were registered who used the trekking route.
It was the highest number so far and besides this, there was more of the support staff who handle the expeditions and trekking groups, he said, adding ”We cannot afford to lose wilderness of this area as Baltoro is the prime wilderness of Pakistan and we have to maintain it its original form.”
Different stakeholders made different suggestions to improve the overall management of adventure in this regions with special focus on maintaining the naturel landscape of this area. Participants suggested that a viable mechanism was needed in this regard.
After identifying the problems, Participants suggested that a Cleanup operation should be started at earliest, all guides, high altitude porters, camp staff, expedition cooks should be trained in hygiene standards and maintaining good cleanliness of camping sites, the alternate Thalle route to Bardomal should also be developed, a proper monitoring system need to be put in place to keep check on pollution left behind by the expedition members. Liaison Officers and Mountain Guides must also be trained.
It was also suggested that trained and certified porters should be hired and disposal of litter on the trek can be ensured by providing waste collection bags to all groups going on this trek and these bags must be collected on their return.
Participants agreed to hold next meeting to develop a joint action plan for better solid waste management at these sites.