Chandra Tal meaning the Lake of Moon is situated at an altitude of 4270m in the Himalayan region of Lahaul and Spiti. Situated mostly in the part of Spiti. Chandratal is a popular destination for trekkers and campers. The Lake is accessible on foot from Batal as well as from Kunzom la pass from late May to mid of October. There is a motorable road from Batal which is 16 km but before mid-July conditions of the road can be bad, but less than 2 km of the walk is essential from road head. During summer banks of this Lake are filled with wild flowers. The vast meadows of Lake and its surroundings is the favourite summer home for Gaddi Shepherds who graze their flocks in the vicinity of the Lake. The Gaddi shepherds have long held traditional grazing rights in the area. The Lake is also one of the two high altitude wetlands of India which have been designated as Ramsar sites.
Now imagine, a place of such importance has been continuously being marred by plastics and waste products left behind by travellers and tourists. We don’t want to directly blame anyone but I am sure those who are guilty will know it themselves. We decided to pick this destination for our clean up drive because the place is no more an unchartered territory. As a matter of fact, it has more number of people visiting with every year. So it’s not just about the cleaning of the lake and its surrounding but also making people aware about effects of plastic garbage, especially who has fix camping near the lake. Forest department took a good step a few years back to shift all the camping sites three km away from the lake so that it will not affect flora and fauna around the lake. Growing number of nature lovers is a sign that we are coming back from where we started only this time we bring along Plastic. During our recce we never find such amount of garbage but while cleaning its never ending though growing number of volunteers brings satisfaction.
We had a brief discussion with camping owners (parasol camps and jamaica’s camp) with their support this event was a success and next year we will be cleaning this lake thrice. So be a part of this beautiful campaign next year.
Clean Drive Key Points:
- The fifth event included 14 volunteers for 2kms of lake area, 3000 plastic bottles were removed
- The waste was carried back to Manali town in a traveller and the gypsy and was sent for recycling
- Discussed the waste management plan with the camping owners at Chandrataal Site
- 2900 people reached organically on social media and appreciated and many came forward to volunteer for future events.
Special thanks to all the volunteers: Pradeep Sangwan, Avatar Rana, Anshul Sharma, Sandeep Nayar, Lucky Thakur, Anil Shashni, Alka Kumari, Tenzin Choyaang, Amit Kapoor, Poonam Sharma, Rahul Doddi and Jamaica Ingoa