Sustainable Tourism: Packed Lunch

On June 5, 2020, I started a series on Sustainable Tourism. My first post in the series was on how we can leave a tourist destination cleaner than before. My next post was on accessing drinking water while travelling and the third one was accessing drinking water while camping or when in the wilderness.

This post presents yet another simple tip on making your trip more sustainable. Sometimes, when we go for trips, we usually use one location as a base and then travel to other locations from there. We might do day hikes, or at times, we trek. On such occasions, we might not always get an opportunity to have warm and fresh meals. There may not be villages or hotels in our path. On such occasions, we obviously (and obliviously) pack our lunch or breakfast and eat on the way.

Time and again, I noticed that the concept of packed lunch, though useful, led to a lot of trash production. Pick any picnic spot: Local hill stations like Matheran (or see this photo I clicked in Lonvala) or exotic Himalayan campsites. The visuals that flash in front of your eyes is always the same: Plastic or thermocol plates, disposal cutlery, dabbas, ketchup or pickle packets, alcohol bottles etc.

Image: A typical sight to see in any picnic spot

The solution to this problem is rather easy. Carry your own dabbas and cutlery! During long treks, we have had a practice of skipping lunch. A heavy breakfast followed by energy snacks intermittently helps you get through the day, in time for dinner. This also serves the purpose of not producing trash. But in day hikes, it is useful to carry food with you. Like for example, this time, we carried two good liquid-tight dabbas and steel spoons during our recent visit to Coorg.

Image: Boiled eggs and Tamarind rice, our lunch after a long hike!

On days when we could not make it for lunch, there was an option of carrying packed lunch from the hotel where we were staying. All it took was some consultation with the chef (decided on dry, easy to handle and long lasting food items) and planning. Our dabbas came in handy. This time, while hiking, we ate from re-usables. No disposables. No plastic packets. If you are offered pickles/ketchup packets, either refuse it or bring the trash back to base camp and dispose it responsibly.

Video: Enjoying our meals with this amazing hilltop view at Marapandemol overlooking Karnataka-Kerala border

So next time you are packing your bags for a trip, include a dabba and spoon!

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My name is Adithi Muralidhar. I am a nature enthusiast based in Mumbai, India.

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. Indeed ! We need to get responsible to deal with waste.
    I remember visiting the local falls at sgnp and was pained to notice all waste spread around there. I see lots of beach cleanup initiative wish there was a provision to clean up and vigilant these beautiful places being spoiled the falls, lakes, Himalayas etc .

    Liked by 1 person

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