The Supreme Court-appointed high-level monitoring committee (HLMC) on Matheran has suggested that tourists should not be allowed to carry plastic bottles into the hill station.
“During the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation’s (MTDC) presentation, we recommended that hotel owners can provide tourists with bottled water on the payment of a deposit. Tourists will have to return the bottles at the end of their stay,” said V Ranganathan, chairman, HLMC.
The HLMC asked MTDC to look at rainwater harvesting and installation of solar panels. It also suggested conversion of government guest houses of public works department, forest department and railways into hotels, to increase accommodation.
“The draft tourism plan envisages an improvement in the tourist experience by introducing nature trails and providing amenities such as pathways and toilets. MTDC also wants tourists to see a short movie on the ecology of Matheran,” added Ranganathan.
However, environmentalists feel that enforcing the rule will be difficult. “However, it’s a good idea, as bottles slide down into the valley and choke water streams,” said Vijay Paranjype, former professor of development economics and environmental science, University of Pune.