Tourist Rush a Major Cause of Declining Air Quality in Shimla & Manali

Shimla, known as the queen of hills and Manali known as the gateway to Leh Ladakh has not only remained a much sought after tourist destinations for its beauty and bounty, but is also among some of the pollution prone cities that face major threat from air pollution.

Increasing global warming, shooting pollution levels, reducing air quality are indeed a cause of concern the world over but tourist destinations face the major threat to the increasing problem of air borne pollution and decreasing air quality.

Scenic beauty, panoramic views and soothing climate conditions in Himachal Pradesh has always attracted tourists from home and abroad. In addition to this, the hospitality, succulent cuisines and historical tourist spots are the other reasons that have kept Himachal Pradesh on the top list of major tourist destinations in the country.

With snow-clad mountains and the fresh breeze amidst the green flora and fauna, the state is gradually gaining in terms of tourism but in this race the air quality is being neglected which is deteriorating by the day.

Tourist inflow in Himachal Pradesh is a boom for state tourism and it bringing cheers to the hospitality industry, but this also increases the vehicular traffic, which has become a major reason for the reducing air quality in the state that witnesses a huge rush of tourists, especially during the peak summer months. Besides depletion in the air quality, the ecological system, too, has been impacted by such ingression in major tourist towns.

Which are the major tourist towns in Himachal Pradesh?

  • Shimla
  • Manali
  • Dharamshala
  • Chamba
  • Dalhousie
  • Kasol
  • Kullu
  • Kufri
  • Chail
  • Khajjiar
  • Manikaran

Some of the lesser crowded tourist towns in Himachal Pradesh

  • Kasauli
  • Kaza
  • Kalpa
  • Lahaul and Spiti district
  • Chitkul
  • Sarahan
  • Naldehra
  • Mashobra
  • Kibber
  • Fagu
  • Bir
  • Bhuntar
  • Malana

Why the air quality in Shimla and Manali declining?

The state capital — Shimla, once the erstwhile summer capital of the British, witnesses a major tourist influx during the summers. Apart from Shimla, Manali, that acts as a gateway to Rohtang Pass and Leh Ladakh also attract thousands of tourists to this place, especially during the summer vacations. The tourist footfall increases manifold especially on the weekends. The count of four-wheeler in these cities (registered vehicles) has shot surprisingly in the last decade but as per reports approximately 4,000 out station vehicles enter the state capital Shimla on weekends alone.

Shockingly, the level of respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) has increased at an alarming rate of 40 per cent in last 15 days. Most of the experts believe that the decline in air quality is because of the increase in traffic that has swelled in the recent years. The RSPM level gathered in Shimla at the main bus stand and the Ridge was recorded at 97.74 ug/m3 (microgram per metric cube) which is nearly double the permissible limit and it multiplies during the weekends.

What can be the remedial measures to fight this problem?

  • Carpooling can reduce congestion on roads as can effectively help in reducing the air pollution.
  • Using public transport (Bus or Train) can be another way to fight the problem of reducing air quality.
  • By growing more trees we can surely secure clean air around us.
  • Eradicate deforestation.
  • Put a tap on the expansion of the concrete jungle (Checking illegal construction which is done at the cost of cutting trees.)

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Munish Dhiman

Being an enthusiast, adventurer, blogger, writer, food lover, creative and multi-talented chap, Munish Dhiman is full of life and is always ready to take on challenges in life. You may reach Munish at hello@chandigarhmetro.com