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Record footfall in Valley of flowers raises environmental concerns

12:11 PM Nov 01, 2022 IST | pallavvjain
record footfall in valley of flowers raises environmental concerns

This year 20,827 domestic and foreign tourists visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site Valley of Flowers, located in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand. This is the highest ever number of tourists visiting here in a year. While on one hand, the forest department has earned Rs 31 lakh from this, experts believe that it is very worrying for the environment.

In fact, the Valley of Flowers is considered to be an ecologically very sensitive spot. In such a situation, reaching so many people here can harm the environment.


Tourist footfall in Valley of flowers
Tourist footfall in Valley of flowers

Also Read: Spring is no longer what it used to be… and it comes earlier

Climate change and valley of flowers

Due to the continuous increase in temperature, this year the Tipra Glacier present here started melting from the end of March itself. A small tributary of the Pushpavati River originating from Tipra Glacier flows into this valley.


Flowering plants remain dormant in the Himalayan region during winters. Warm and humid conditions are required for flowers to bloom. Due to the change in the weather, the flowers are blooming early here.

The rising temperature is shrinking the glaciers present here, due to which the tree lines are also getting affected.


Also Read: #Explained: Advancing treeline in Himalayas and its consequences

Due to the excessive rainfall in the month of July, many landslide incidents were also reported here.


There is also opposition to the helipad being built in the Atalakudi Avalanche Zone near the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve. Because most of the Chamoli is ecologically fragile. In February, 200 people were killed in an avalanche caused by the breakup of the Nanda Devi Glacier here.

A Senior ecologist told the Times of India that-

‘The attempt to boom the economy through tourism is not entirely correct. Research should be conducted on how much damage is being done to the flora and fauna present here due to climate change and a excess tourism. There should be a cap on the number of tourists and only those people who are serious about the environment should be given entry.

Dr. DP Singh, Senior Ecologist and Alpine Expert

About Valley of flowers in Garhwal

The Valley of Flowers is known all over the world for its colorful flowers and natural beauty. For people who like to visit untouched valleys, this place is no less than a paradise. It is spread over 87.5 square kilometers of area and more than 300 species of flowers bloom here. Many flowers like Pototilla, Primula, Anemone, Ericsima, Ammonite, Blue Poppy, Mars Mary Gold, Brahma Kamal, and Fan Kamal bloom here. Along with flowers, it is quite a biodiverse valley.

A British mountaineer, Frank S. Smith, had discovered this alpine meadow in the year 1931 when he went astray during his Mount Kamet expedition. He was thrilled to see this place.

This year it was opened to tourists on 1 June and closed on 31 October.

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Pallav Jain

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Pallav Jain is co-founder of Ground Report and an independent journalist and visual storyteller based in Madhya Pradesh. He did his PG Diploma in Radio and TV journalism from IIMC 2015-16.

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