Sustainability at the Dal Lake

Tuhin Guha Updated: October 28, 2022, 10:12 AM IST

Usually, at OVERDRIVE a trip to Leh means a path-breaking adventure in this stunningly beautiful scenery. But this time we have the Hyundai Creta with us for something a touch more thought-provoking. We're driving down the picturesque Leh-Srinagar highway to visit the Dal to see how we can enjoy this spectacular destination in a more responsible, sustainable way.

And Hyundai is the perfect partner on this journey. Globally Hyundai wants to achieve net carbon neutrality across its entire value chain by 2045. It's doing this through a massive shift towards electric vehicles. Just in India, it will launch 6 new EVs by 2028. While the Hyundai India plant is almost entirely self-sufficient in its needs through rainwater harvesting, about 84 per cent of the electricity comes from renewable sources. And the views along the Leh-Srinagar highway immediately justify the need to preserve our environment. The highway from Leh to Kargil with its barren, scraggy peaks makes for a life-affirming experience with its sheer size.

The Hyundai Creta with its potent turbo petrol and DCT combination means that the high pass barely registers. The gearbox makes sure you always have the full potential of the turbo motor on tap. And when the roads do get rough, the traction modes mean that you always have the confidence to just plough through without hesitation. And once you descend from the mountains, the rolling green landscapes of Kashmir are a totally different experience. The poplars and chinar trees that rise up from here present a scenery that would match the best that Alpine Europe has to offer.

Here the Hyundai Creta turns into a comfortable cruiser. The engine is just purring away in the background, the large cabin and the panoramic sunroof offering an uninterrupted view of the scenery. The well-judged suspension and comfortable seats with the many connected-tech features make finding your way around here exceptionally simple.

But as mesmerizing as the journey is the Dal. You know it as the top tourist destination in Kashmir with its houseboats, the lily pads in the floating gardens on the and the char chinar island. But it's also a major part of the local ecosystem. It's a source of livelihood for the locals and a major food source, aside from being a diverse and fragile ecosystem with its rich plant and animal life.

But research shows that Dal could collapse ecologically if measures to control pollution and unplanned development aren't put in place. Most importantly, the sewage flowing into the needs to be treated so that the quality is maintained sustainably. This will preserve the ecosystem and also continue to let be an economic hotspot for the locals.

As for what you can do? A bit more consciousness like reducing waste when you visit places like the Dal and travelling outside of the peak season are easy solutions. It shouldn't be a big step considering large corporations like Hyundai have set the tone for sustainability to become an issue that needs immediate attention.

Photography: Anis Shaikh

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