List of abused tourist is long and never ending. People come and enjoy their part and leave with some irreversible damages to the environment. Latest and sad entrant to the list is Pangong tso (tso for lake in Ladakhi). Located in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,250 m (13,900 ft) and is 134 km (83.3 mi) long. Most of its part lies in Tibet and is claimed by India.
Once it was featured in mani ratnam’s movie dil se in song satrangi re there was no stopping the affair between Bollywood and Pangong tso. Long gone are the days when only the enthusiasts could make it across the rohtang pass to reach Leh and then to the Pangong lake and gone are the days when you would be alone on the Leh - Manali highway for countless kilometers on your bike. Its appearance in the movie ‘3 idiots’ triggered a tsunami of tourism in this region.
With increased Chinese intrusion in this region it became more important for India to strengthen its claim over this region. As a result the Inner Line Permit (ILP) was abolished and now Indians are free to visit this place without any permission, thus going one step further to trigger that wave of tourism in the region. Where the increased tourism meant more income and better lifestyle for the people of Leh and Ladakh it also meant a huge overload of tourism wastage generated every month. The serene mountains, the shining blue lake never saw so many people in their lifetime.
Although boating is banned in this lake for security reasons, driving big SUVs into the lake for a ‘perfect click’ and littering in and around the lake has worsened the situation for Pangong tso. Never seen hikes in the temperature have been recorded in the area. Today we cannot say that people are not aware enough that they don’t know about the concept of garbage disposal and simple dustbins or simply the term global warming. People have become insensitive towards the need of our environment.
We the people of India need to realize that these tourist destinations are in important source of local as well as global economy,we need to collectively protect them so that our future generations can see them in their true colors and you don’t have to point to a barren piece of land and say that there used to be a beautiful lake here which used to freeze in winters without being salty in nature. Let’s come forward and help Pangong tso to flourish as it has been forever.