Gangtok, 17 Aug:

On the occasion of the 71st Independence Day, the Lachen Dzumsa adopted four new resolutions as a step towards making their village a “green destination”.

A press release informs that the Dzumsa has issued an order to replace all synthetic Dhajas [prayer flags] which have been found to be non biodegradable and were blocking drains and waterways, with cotton ones.

These have been now made available for sale in the village by the Dzumsa and thus shall reduce the volume of nonbiodegradable waste to a great extent.

To reduce the use of disposable plastic plates and cups, the Dzumsa has also invested in steel plates and cups, which shall be used in all community events, and also given out on hire to anyone in the village at a minimal price.

A landmark for Lachen also has been the setting up of a resource recovery center [RRC] in the village to segregate and store all recyclable materials from household waste which shall be linked to scrap dealers.

The RRC which is still to be formally inaugurated will set an example for the entire State.

On 15 Aug, the Dzumsa also announced a plan for household segregation, making it mandatory for all households to segregate tins/ plastics/ tetrapaks/ glass/ carboard items separately in dry waste from their biodegradable waste. A garbage collection vehicle provided by Rural Management and Development Department is already providing service of household garbage collection for which all households and hotels pay a monthly fee, the release adds.

The fourth resolution was aimed at strengthening the existing plastic water bottle ban. It was announced that provisions will be made for providing safe drinking water in reusable water bottles at a nominal deposit cost, which will be given back when the bottles are returned by the tourists at the collection point.

The Pipon, Tso Bandhu Lachenpa, in his address, said that Lachen will set an example in the state as a green destination, and these resolutions would not only maintain the uniqueness of the village, but also add to the promotion of ecotourism in the long run.

During the occasion, a tourism brochure and a pictorial handbook of birds of Lachen were also released. The bird booklet has been made possible by photographs provided by the Photography Club of Sikkim. The ten years activity report of Lachen tourism development committee [LTDC] was also released and the organisation was felicitated by the Dzumsa in recognition of the good work they had undertaken for village development.

Outgoing President of LTDC, Chewang Lachenpa, expressed his gratitude to the Lachen Dzumsa, the District Administration and Rural Management and Development Department and others for their guidance and support.

It is to be informed here, WWF – India has been working in collaboration with ECOSS and LTDC to promote responsible tourism in the village.