A quaint town of Sikkim is set to introduce bamboo water bottles for tourists in a bid to completely stop the use of plastic water bottles and littering.
Lachen, arguably the first town to completely ban packaged drinking water bottles, is introducing bamboo bottles as an alternative.
Lachen draws lakhs of tourists each year for its snow-capped peaks and picturesque views. As tourism in the town grows, so does plastic water bottles left behind by tourists.
The plastic bottles left behind by tourists prompted the local community to introduce the ban. The bamboo water bottles have been ordered from Assam through Sikkim Rajya Sabha MP Hishey Lachungpa.
It was in 1998 when Sikkim took the first steps towards banning plastic water bottles. In 2016, it banned the use of packaged drinking water in government offices as well as at all government events.
There are random checks for tourist vehicles along the way to make sure no one brings plastic water bottles Lachen.
The local authorities have ordered 1,000 bamboo water bottles, a game-changing alternative to plastic bottles. While 1,000 bottles is a modest start, the number will increase in the future.
After tackling plastic bottles, the locals are grappling with wafer and biscuit packets. As the discussion around the plastic water bottle ban grows, responsible tourism is the only way to keep the surroundings clean.