LACHEN (SIKKIM), May 20 – An awareness programme on the ban of bottled water in Lachen was organised as a follow up to the ongoing work of WWF – India and Lachen Tourism Development Committee for conservation of Lake Gurudongmar situated in North Sikkim under the wetlands conservation programme.
Lachen Dzumsa had announced the strict ban on sale and use of bottled water in Lachen village and above during World Wetlands Day 2012 in February, as an initiative for conservation of the sacred lake of Gurudongmar, which over the years has been growing as a tourist destination in the State.
The consent of hoteliers and shopkeepers had been taken earlier at an informal meeting wherein all stakeholders agreed to support the ban on use and sale of bottled water in the village. However, they had expressed a need for providing tourists with safer options of drinking water, and also awareness generation and sensitisation of tourists was felt as necessary, so that the reason for the ban was clearly understood by them.
As a follow up, to this, water quality testing of the drinking water in Lachen and Thangu was conducted with the help of the water testing laboratory under State Institure of Rural Development, which certified that the water was unobjectionable for drinking.
The results of the water quality test were shared with the stakeholders, and water filters were also provided to 44 hotels and shops in Lachen, which would be used as a replacement to bottled water.
Stickers for raising awareness amongst drivers, travel agents and hotels regarding the ban, were also distributed in the village, and it was announced that these would be made available very soon to all the travel agents in Gangtok as well.
Lachen Dzumsa, with assistance from LTDC and WWF will be working on developing a strategy for monitoring of the garbage that goes up to Gurudongmar lake, and ensuring that it is brought back to Lachen.