The Department of Tourism celebrated World Environment Day as a pledge to preserve the fragile ecosystem and environment at the tourist destinations for safe and responsible tourism.

The main feature of these functions today was the active involvement of stakeholders viz hoteliers, tour operators and service providers who participated in the cleanliness drives, awareness programmes and other related activities.

The main functions in this regard were held at Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Chinar Bagh and Zabarwan Park in Srinagar, Yousmarg and Doodpathri and Ahrabal.

At Pahalgam, Director, Tourism, Kashmir, Dr. G N Itoo and MD, JK Cable Car Corporation, Majid Khalil Drabu led the cleanliness drive at Aru road opposite Deer Park. They also launched the plantation drive at the tourist destination.

Speaking on the occasion, Director Tourism said the Department with the support of tourism stakeholders has embarked on a mission to preserve the fragile ecology at tourist destinations and observing eco friendly norms and conducting responsible tourism. He said by preserving the fragile ecology of tourist destinations we not only protect the livelihood of service providers but also preserve these green gifts for our future generations.

Dr. Itoo urged upon all visitors, other locals visiting this spot to ensure that no garbage of any kind particularly plastic material is thrown on the pastures of this beautiful spot. He said from today cleanliness of this place will be strictly maintained as garbage of any kind shall be routinely collected, lifted and dumped and destroyed at designated spots.

At Gulmarg, sanitation drive was carried within the bowl besides a plantation drive and cycle ride at the tourist destination.

The function was attended by Joint Director, Tourism, Kashmir, Tabassum Kamili, CEO, GDA, Inam ul Haq Siddiqui, SDM, Gulmarg, representatives of Hoteliers and other service providers.

At Sonmarg, a massive Cleanliness drive was today organized in the meadows of Sonamarg.

The drive was flagged off by the CEO, Sonmarg Development Authority, Mushtaq Ahmad Rather along with Deputy Director Tourism, Registration. The drive was carried from the SDA office and went through the Sonamarg market, bus stand and Fish Point.

Employees of SDA, Hotelier Association Sonamarg, Shopkeepers and locals participated in the drive and collected the waste including polythene, plastic bags and plastic bottles from these places which was later dumped for proper disposal in a Solid Waste Management Plant installed at Sarbal Sonamarg.

Speaking on the occasion, the speakers said that to commemorate the special day, the Department is organizing various programs throughout the valley with an objective to encourage awareness and enhance commitment towards ecosystem restoration which has been degraded by deforestation, pollution, and other human activities.

They also highlighted the importance of cleanliness and preserving the environment for tourism development in Sonamarg and in this regard sought cooperation from all stakeholders.

Later, a plantation drive was also held within the premises of the tourist hut at Wusan.

At Budgam, functions were organized at various tourist destinations across the district.

In one of such functions at Yousmarg Chrari sharief, SDM Chadoora Prince Noorul Hamid in presence of several officers particularly from Tourism and Yousmarg Development Authority planted Deodar and Conifer plants at various spots in the vicinity.

Later, the SDM launched a cleanliness drive which was duly participated by officers and officials of YDA and Tourism Department, besides many volunteers, ponywallas also enthusiastically participated in the drive, which was highly appreciated by the locals as well as many visitors who were present there.

Speaking on the occasion SDM Chadoora said YDA has been asked to install dust bins both for dry and liquid waste material at designated spots. He added that celebrating this day shall be only to ensure an eco-friendly atmosphere, clean environment to be sustained for future generations also.

He further said in order to have hassle free dumping of all waste material and garbage, arrangements are in pipeline to construct one concrete solid waste dumping project at Yousmarg.

At Kulgam, plantation drives and cleanliness drives were organized at several places across the district. A mega awareness cum cleanliness drive was organized at Aharbal by District Administration Kulgam in collaboration with Aharbal Development Authority and Youth Services and Sports Department.

On the occasion, the Deputy Commissioner Kulgam, Dr.Bilal Mohi-Ud-Din Bhat started a cleanliness drive at Aharbal market.

Highlighting the importance of the day, the Deputy Commissioner said that for sustainable restoration of the environment everyone at individual and collective level have to contribute his bit to save the environment.

He stressed for encouraging use of eco-friendly bags and to discourage plastic which he termed as a threat to environmental and ecological balance.

Later the Deputy Commissioner also took stock of facilities available at Aharbal tourists spot and added that slew of measures will be taken for upgradation of facilities for tourists here.

It is pertinent to mention that Aharbal is famous for the majestic waterfall and scenic beauty possessing huge potential for attracting tourists from all over the world.

Similar functions were held at Chinar Bagh and Zabarwan park, Srinagar.

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