Tourism properties, resorts ‘No-polythene zones’: Director Tourism Mehmood Shah

Use of polythene and disposable plastic at tourist destinations and properties in Jammu and Kashmir can now lead to cancellation of a violating operator’s license.
A ban ordered by the government (No PLN/171/DTK/2660-69) directs tourism operators and stakeholders to stop use of non-biodegradable plastic in their properties failing which certificates of registration issued to them by the tourism department would be cancelled.
“It shall be the duty of hotel keeper, houseboat owners, travel agents, shikara walas and tourist unit holders to ensure that polythene and disposable plastic is not allowed or utilised by units henceforth,” the order states.
“Persistent violation shall warrant cancellation of registration certificate issued by the Tourism Department.”
The order also asks designated officers in development authorities of various zones to keep a check on usage of polythene at tourism destinations.
Director Tourism, Mehmood Shah said the ban is a step towards sustainable tourism and making tourist destinations eco-friendly.
“Our endeavor is that we will take all the steps to ensure that tourist spots and other areas are garbage free. We are keen that both solid and liquid waste is properly managed,” Shah told Kashmir Post.
He said a magnetic waste disintegrator for processing bio-degradable waste and an auto-composter has also been installed at Gulmarg on a trial basis for proper disposal of garbage.
“The waste disintegrator shreds polythene and converts it into ash. It has been helpful to process waste without causing any harm to the environment,” Shah said.
Secretary Tourism, Sarmad Hafeez said a strict vigil was being kept on management of garbage at tourist destinations.
“Heads of various development authorities have been clearly told that open burning of waste should not be done at all. They have also been roped-in for capacity building and creating awareness among locals about importance of keeping our tourist destinations garbage-free,” Hafeez said.