PTDC explore ways to curb pollution on Baltoro and K2 base camp trek

K2 base camp

The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) arranged a consultative workshop of different organizations’ representatives and tour operators to deliberate on the issue of increasing pollution on Baltoro and K2 Base Camp Trek. 

Sources reported that the PTDC’s senior officials, Himalayan Wildlife Foundation, Tour Operators Associations, Adventure Club, Alpine Club of Pakistan, GB Tourism Department, Karakoram Club, and others attended the meeting. 

PTDC Managing Director Aftab Rana addressed the meeting and said that Pakistan had the best season for K2 climbing this year, but poor solid waste management on the trekking route emerged as the main issue. 

“It is a good news that Pakistan’s name in the world of mountaineering was highlighted and climbers from across the world participated in this climbing season, but besides this, negative news on environmental issues were also reported that highlighted pollution and waste management issues on the trekking route to K2 base camp,” he stated. 

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He added that it was a challenging situation and there was a necessity to devise a strategy to the government to adopt environmental-friendly management of expeditions on this route which was currently part of Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP). 

This year, over 3,800 trekkers and mountaineers were recorded who used the trekking route. It was the highest number to date and there were more of the support staff who handle the expeditions and trekking groups, Rana stated, adding that “We cannot afford to lose the wilderness of this area as Baltoro is the prime wilderness of Pakistan and we have to maintain it its original form.” 

“Different stakeholders made different suggestions to improve the overall management of adventure in this region with special focus on maintaining the natural landscape of this area. Participants suggested that a viable mechanism was needed in this regard,” he added. 

Moreover, after problems identification, participants proposed that a Cleanup operation should be started soon, all guides, camp staff, high altitude porters, and expedition cooks should be trained in hygiene standards and maintaining good cleanliness of camping places, the alternate Thalle route to Bardomal should also be established, an appropriate monitoring system need to be placed to keep a check on pollution left behind by the expedition members. In addition, Liaison Officers and Mountain Guides must also be trained. 

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