Green Trekking - A Guide to Environment Friendly Trekking

By Aftab Rana

We are lucky enough to visit some of the most beautiful and fragile spots on Earth, so surely the least we can do is to show some respect for these places… Sensitivity to one' immediate surroundings should influence everyone who goes to the mountains… leave the area as you find it. Don't leave it to the last minute, in the rush to leave there will not be time. Process all your litter right from the start. Dig latrine pits, burn papers, collect plastic, flatten tins and bag them for carry-out.

The Northern Areas of Pakistan are renowned for their natural beauty and attractive charm. High mountain peaks, enchanting valleys, large glaciers, fast flowing rivers and blue water lakes make this region and excellent adventure tourism destination. However, over the last few years the ever increasing toursm activity in this area is becoming a serous threat to the natural environment. The most popular trekking routes like Baltoro, Masherburm, Gondoghoro, Rupal and Fairy Meadows are already polluted to the point of being dangerous to both people's health and the natural environment. Heaps of rusting cans surround most camping sites and piles of human faeces and stumps of trees and bushes that have been cut to provide warmth to trekkers and porters tell you the story of our careless attitude.

But now things are changing. Adventure Foundation (Pakistan) with the help of other organizations with an interest in conserving the environment have launched an awareness campaign to promote the concept of "Green Trekking" in Pakistan. There clean-up expeditions have already been organized to bring back the waste material form the trails of Baltoro, Masherbrum, Rupal and Fairy meadows. Three more such expeditions are planned for 1997.

The second important objective of this campaign is to educate the trekkers about how they can minimize their impact on the natural environment in a manner inoffensive to host cultures. This leaflet will explain how you can reduce dependency on firewood fuel, properly dispose off litter and waste, and respect local customs.

We hope you will make your contribution in the promotion of green tourism, and trekking in particular, by taking due notice of the following points.

Plan to Pack it Out

Small is Better

Do not litter. Burn it, Bury It or Carry It Out

Conserve Firewood

Leave No Trace

Save Wildlife

Use Water Wisely

Toilet Techniques

Be a Guest

Remember your trip will be a cross cultural experience. Local people commonly ask why trekkers come so far to walk in these mountains and experience their simple ways. Try to communicate what you find enriching about their area and help them appreciate what they have. Explain to them the realities of your home country, good and bad. Bring photographs of your family, home and country to share with your new friends. Discourage smoking and drug use among young people and encourage them to be proud of their culture.