Case Study: KHANCHENDZONGA CONSERVATION COMMITTEE (KCC)

The state of Sikkim, currently considered the cleanest state of India in terms of rural sanitation, is a scenic state located between the kingdom of Nepal in the west, Bhutan in the east, Tibet in the north and Indian state of West Bengal in the south. It is also home to mountain peaks Dzongri (4030m), Goecha-La (5002m) and Mt Khangchendzonga, the world's third highest mountain at (8586m). The tourism in this area picked momentum within the past two decades and has created employment and revenue opportunities for many local community members. But it has also caused damage to the landscape due to the rampant tourism activities. So the Khanchendzonga Conservation Committee NGO was formed in 1996 constituting representatives from local community and stakeholders from the tourism industry to work towards conservation of natural and cultural aspects of Sikkim. KCC aims to assess and mitigate negative impact of developmental activities in the state. Its roles include skill development programs, micro planning, awareness campaigns, monitoring of natural resources and also advocacy for required policy changes. The Committee is registered under societies act with Sikkim Government in 1997. And they won the Eastern-Himalayan Conservation Award in 2015 for their contribution towards the welfare of nature and wildlife in and around Sikikim.

Social Impact:

The KCC has promoted the construction of toilets in Sikkim. It is also campaigning against water contamination from human wastes. The Committee has backed environmental engineers to construct septic tanks that are appropriate for high elevations.

Economic Impact:

The KCC is involved in promotion of community- based tourism to provide sustainable employment opportunities and revenue to local community members. It is also integrating with education institutes to collaborate with teachers and students to impart conservation
education across Sikkim. The committee also oversees developmental programs in the state of Sikkim.

Ecological Impact:

The KCC has been helping restoration of forest areas in Sikkim with prioritized focus in and around Khanchendzonga National Park. The committee is promoting sustainable tourism for the zero-waste trekking trails and camps by providing training programs to nature guides, home stay operators, tour operators, porters and other sta. The Committee also runs a garbage segregation unit near Dzongri trail in Khanchendzonga National Park.

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