A research cum clean-up campaign was organized by the Resources Himalaya Foundation (RHF) along the Gosaikunda trail in the Lamgtang National Park in the district of Rasuwa in central Nepal from November 3 to 12, supported by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA). The team included altogether 12 members, six experts and volunteers from RHF and six local volunteers and helpers. Notable activities conducted during the field visit included: (i) stakeholder meetings, (ii) vegetation survey, (iii) fauna survey, (iv) social survey, (v) awareness campaign and (vi) solid waste collection.
Stakeholder meetings: We conducted a total of five stakeholder meetings at Dhunche, the district administrative centre of Rasuwa with (a) officials of the Lamgtang National Park, (b) ward Chairperson and officials of ward number 6, (c) officials of LACCoS and (d) MANEKOR – local NGOs, and at Syafrubesi, the business centre of Rasuwa district, with (e) the Chairperson and other administrative officials of the Gosaikunda Rural Municipality. During these stakeholder meetings, our team briefed the objectives of the project, such as clean-up campaign, installation of dustbins and transportation of waste, installation of incinerator, awareness programmes on waste management, and social, flora and fauna surveys. All stakeholders praised our objectives and promised us to provide their support for the successful implementation of project’s objectives.
Flora and fauna survey: We conducted vegetation surveys along the trail – Dhunche to Gosaikunda – in six altitudinal gradients starting from 2000 masl with an interval of 500 m. For tree category, 20*20 m2 quadrates were laid; for shrub category, two 5*5 m2 quadrates were laid; and for herb category, five 1*1 m2 quadrates were laid in each altitudinal gradient along the trail. Additionally, observation of scats and pub marks of wild animals, bird watching and camera trapping were conducted along the trail.
Social survey: We conducted altogether 41 household surveys along the trail and in Dhunche and Syafrubesi regarding the production of solid waste from tourism and their waste management practices. Additionally, three key informant interviews were conducted with key stakeholders.
Awareness campaign: Experts, Volunteers and RHF staffs were involved in awareness campaign in Gosaikunda trail, Dhunche and Syafrubesi focusing hoteliers, local community and business/service providers. A total of 500 copies of printed booklets with the information on solid waste management approaches to be adopted at local level were distributed to them.
Waste collection: We collected altogether 65 kilograms of solid waste from Cholangpati (3615 masl) to Bhairang Danda (3000 masl) along the trail. The collected waste was segregated, counted and weighed individually to obtain their composition. The collected waste was then dumped in nearby dumping pits.