KUPWARA: With the increasing footfall of tourists, the delinquency of some visitors is putting the famous Bungus Valley at a greater threat due to littering in the open without showing concern toward the natural beauty and meadows it offers.
Bungus Valley, nestled in the Shamsbari mountain ranges in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, is a tourist destination that started to receive visitors in the last two years. This place, before 2021 March, was a no-go zone for civilians.
Visitors in numbers are visiting this beautiful place, offering a lot to them. Those living in the makeshift houses there during summer seasons for years said that since visitors’ increasing footfall into the Bungus valley, a potential threat to the environment has grown, causing a worry.
They said that it can be estimated by the fact that each thing that causes harm to natural habitat is seen there in the open, thus becoming a threat to Paradise-like places. “It used to be very clean, people friendly with mesmerizing beauty and it still has a lot of potential but acts like open littering will leave a dent and cause long-term harm,” they said.
They said that they have multiple times informed the authorities and asked for dustbins, but no one reverted positively for a change each time.
“With time the natural beauty will come to an end. Already the flowers which grew annually here naturally haven’t shown up yet. Acts like open littering are causing a great threat to a natural place like Bungus valley,” they said.
Abdul Rashid, an elderly man, said he has been coming to Bungus for the last two decades. “I’ve seen bungus and found it more beautiful than any other tourist destination across the Kashmir valley. The surface here is so soft and amazes every visitor,” he said.
He said that tourists are throwing waste in the open without showing any concern regarding the implications it will leave in the longer run. “People have food and thrown bones and other waste there. Bottles and other plastic waste along with plastic bags are thrown in the open within the natural meadows, thus causing harm to the natural beauty of the place.”
He blamed both forest and tourism departments for not keeping an eye on the practice of causing harm to the natural habitat.
Those who have set up their small stalls said they had hired a man to keep the area safe from plastic and other potential threats. “We collect all the bottles, plastic, and other things that cause harm and put them aside packed. We ensure that nothing harmful is thrown in the open,” they said.
Nazir Ahmad Hajam, 40, a Zachaldara Handwara resident, said that although the people are coming here they are leaving back all the waste, thus causing harm to this beautiful place.
“Visitors in hundreds visit here on a daily basis, but they don’t bother to keep this place clean. They throw plastic and other waste in the open which is a potential threat. No arrangements by the concerned authorities have been made for collection or dumping of waste,” he said.
Recalling his visits since 2005 to Bungus Valley, he said that the upper ground surface was so pleasing that it would feel like walking on a Dunlop mattress. “With regular human interference this place is losing its significance and natural potential.”
People, mainly the locals, have urged the authorities to make the required arrangements as early as possible. They have also urged the lieutenant governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, for personal intervention into the matter to give directions to the concerned departments for their early action—(KNO)