WWF working for biodiversity conservation along with sustainable tourism in Sikkim

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Gangtok, 2 June:

WWF-India has been working towards biodiversity conservation through
participation of the local communities in Sikkim for more than ten years. One of its main focus has been the conservation of myriad high altitude wetlands in the state, fragile environments providing multiple benefits including water security, refuge for wildlife and tourist attractions.

Following a successful conservation model in Tsomgo with conservation issues monitored by the Pokhari Sanrakshan Samity, focus has also been given to Lake Gurudongmar, one of the highest lakes in the world and a major tourist destination in North Sikkim. Conservation plans have been worked out in collaboration with local governance institutions like the Lachen Dzumsa, organizations like the Lachen Tourism Development Committee to ensure effective protection to the fragile high altitude environment of the lake while continuing sustainable tourism practices.

As part of the ongoing conservation activities in Lachen and Gurudongmar, WWF-India Khanchendzonga Landscape Programme, in association with Lachen Tourism Development Committee, is organizing a two- day celebration of World Environment Day, 2011 on 4th and 5th June at Lachen and Gurudongmar as part of its High Altitude Wetlands conservation Project in Sikkim.

The major activities include a garbage cleaning drive in Lachen on June 4th, where Lachen Dzumsa, community members and school children from Lachen will take active part. This will be followed by a second drive at Gurudongmar on the occasion of environment day on 5th June, again with participation from WWF, LTDC and Lachen Dzumsa.

It is hoped that these drives will generate major awareness regarding sustainable management of waste in two of the major tourist attractions in the state where huge number of both domestic and international tourists arrive each year.

During the occasion, two notice boards (signage) providing useful information on Gurudongmar and Do’s and Don’t s for the visitors will be put up near the holy lake where the fragile cold desert habitat requires utmost protection from waste and other anthropogenic disturbances. In recent years, the influx of tourists has increased manifold in Gurudongmar and while the cold desert environment restricts many anthropogenic activities with potential to cause disturbances, management of waste and ensuring that the lake environs are clean is a major issue. Dustbins aimed at proper management of wastes will also be distributed for placing at strategic locations in Lachen as part of the programme.

(Courtesy: Sikkim Mail)



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