You’ll be surprised to know the knowledge the villagers of Mawlynnong have about nature conservation that will encourage you to travel responsibly.
Mawlynnong has earned the place of being the “cleanest village in Asia”. Why? The population of this village is environmentally conscious about nature conservation. But is that the only reason? After a journalist from Discover Magazine listed this remote village in the North East Indian state of Meghalaya as “Asia’s Cleanest Village”, the village has been purposefully doing everything to keep the title.
From making environmentally conscious decisions to imposing zero-littering policies, find out what makes Mawlynnong an eco-friendly destination.
Why should you visit eco-friendly destinations in India?
There can be a couple of reasons –
- If you live in a city, the idea of being in an unpolluted and green environment will entice you.
- You learn so much about local people, the culture, and their ways of keeping the village unsoiled.
- It helps locals to sell their products and earn a living.
- Urban areas are drastically diminishing, with industries polluting the air and water and increasing plastic use. You’ll be surprised to know the knowledge the villagers have about nature preservation that can be implemented in urban areas.
What is Green or Sustainable Tourism?
In one-liner? Exploring nature while healing it at the same time.
Is it possible? Yes.
Green travel or eco-tourism is a lifestyle choice that reduces carbon footprint.
This blog discusses one of the eco-tourism places in India – Mawlynnong – and what makes it sustainable.
Plastic: Our Biggest Enemy
Use of plastic is banned in Mawlynnong! It has been practiced for years now. Locals make it their duty to keep plastic out of the village as much as possible. Instead of plastic, the village has bamboo dustbins in every nook and corner. Moreover, volunteers sweep the streets regularly.
Villagers make hand-woven, cone-shaped baskets instead of plastic chairs and other items. Large signs have been put up stating throwing away plastic packaging and littering is frowned upon. The rules on the plastic ban are followed strictly, and defaulters are penalized.
United Efforts for Cleanliness
Upholding the title “Asia’s Cleanest Village,” the people in Mawlynnong consider it their responsibility to keep the streets clean. From adults to young kids, everyone took it upon themselves to make their village litter free. Cleaning is a regular activity assigned by the village leaders for the welfare of the people. People not only clean their homes but also sweep the roads plus plant trees regularly.
After the Cholera outbreak some 130 years ago, with no medical facilities in Mawlynnong Village, cleanliness was seen as essential to prevent the spread of disease and continues till date. In addition, they banned plastic and smoking from keeping their environment eco-friendly.
Innovative Methods for Waste Management
The honorable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, initiated the Swachh Bharat Campaign in 2014. But Mawlynnong was on its journey to make itself eco-friendly long before that. The villagers have come up with innovative methods for waste management. Unlike many remote villages, Mawlynnong has eradicated open defecation as they have built functional toilets, making the life of people easier.
Further, the villagers produce their own manure by digging the garbage into pits. They bury biodegradable waste like leaves and use it as manure. Other waste is taken away from Mawlynnong periphery and burned. Plastic, a toxic material, is also reused in the form of swings and planters.
Trees are the Heart and Soul of Mawlynnong
Among the wettest places on Earth, Mawlynnong receives heavy rains with thunderstorms, all thanks to the greenery of this region. Planting more trees is the villagers’ motto to ensure clean and green surroundings. They use natural basins for rainwater harvesting in their front yards, giving their homes a unique look.
In addition, they add bougainvillea and orchid-draped patios and have well-manicured gardens. That is one of the reasons why Mawlynnong is called “God’s Own Garden”. The roads of this village are lined with flowers and trees, making your experience as a nature lover blissful.
Starting at a Young Age
What you sow shall you reap? Ever heard that? Mawlynnong people believe if you educate the children about keeping their environment clean at a young age, they will follow and pass that on to the upcoming generations. Therefore, the schools in the village teach young kids about the importance of cleanliness and assign them duties for practice.
Before school, they sweep the garbage with brooms, ensuring litter-free surroundings. Little did you may know, Mawlynnong has a 100% literacy rate, and they have earned the distinction of being India’s highest-educated village.
Organic is the Way of Life
The people here treat their taste buds to a culinary adventure. Thus, they produce their own vegetables, including meat from their in-house bred birds and animals.
From pork tossed in bell peppers to freshly-cut meat and rice-based Jadoh, the food in Mawlynnong is something the locals take pride in. Also, the organic vegetables grown here are not for commercial use.
The Iconic Living Root Bridges
How can sustainable travel in India not include Living Root Bridges? Hanging above a gushing stream, the root bridges are ancient but practical. With no extra cost and heavy construction, they are made by connecting the aerial roots of one rubber tree with another.
Witnessing Mawlynnong’s root bridge leaves many tourists in awe. Also, they are unique to Meghalaya, and the local tribe “Khasi” weave them across rivers and teach their young ones this skill to pass on to the next generations. The bridges can be reached by hiking through dense forests for hours but are totally with it.
Mawlynnong village has done it, so why not others?
Cities, towns, villages, etc., can also create awareness and take the initiative to keep their surroundings clean. As travelers, we can learn from the examples of Khasi villagers who start at a young age and ingrain the idea of keeping the environment clean in adults, especially young people’s minds. All we need are responsible and conscientious travelers who’ll take measures for the protection of the environment.
How can you contribute to eco-friendly travel in India?
Next time you visit one of the eco-friendly places in India for tourism purposes, here are some ways that individuals can help the environment –
- Be respectful of the local culture.
- Travel in small groups.
- Prefer homestays over hotels.
- Do not litter, especially plastic.
- Avoid using single-use plastic and encourage fellow travelers to do the same.
- Prefer walking for exploration.
- Eat at local restaurants and local foods to support the local economy.
- Spend long term at a place instead of weekend breaks.
- Partaking in local activities and culture.
How will practicing sustainable tourism help you?
- It will provide a positive experience for you and the local population.
- Build cultural awareness and respect.
- Minimize the social, physical, behavioral, and psychological impacts.
- It will directly provide financial benefits to nature.
- Help to create infrastructure for hospitality for a low ecological impact.
- Recognize the local values and beliefs and help empower them.
Like what you read? Connect with Indian Holiday to plan a tour to eco-friendly destinations in India and start your journey toward being a responsible traveler.