Impact of Tourism on Environment

Environmental degradation has become the talk of the town in the recent years. Developmental activities have taken a toll on the environment and has have resulted in loss of biodiversity. One of the major causes of the degeneration of environment is unplanned and unchecked developmental activities in the tourist destinations. Tourism, though, beneficial for the country’s economy, harms nature when it is not planned properly. People who come to enjoy the scenic beauty often litter the places with polythene and left over food without thinking about its adverse impact on the environment. The Dal lake( Srinagar) which was once pristine has lost its nature due to tourist pressure and is now covered with animal carcasses, sewage and weeds. The lake has shrunk as it was unable to handle the pollution caused by constant tourist influx.
Tourism industry often involves construction of hotel and lodges. These lodges are created near or on the banks of a lake or a river. The sewage water flows into lake water or sea, polluting its marine ecosystem. Hotel owners who have vested commercial interests does not even take into account the unfavourable consequences on environment. Construction of jetties alters the wave pattern of the lake depositing silt in it. Introduction of mechanized boards to cash in on tourists damages the flora and fauna of ecosystem as the both leave tresses of oil, petrol and diesel in the water.

Tourism also results in disorderly and scattered tourist facilities which generally are not eco-friendly and that leads to aesthetic degradation of the landscape. It also has negative impact on the natural resources as it contributes to soil erosion, increase pollution and discharges into the sea, natural habitat loss and increase pressure on endangered species. Certainly, tourism industry which involves hotels, resorts, swimming pools, golf resorts overuses water resources as tourists often use more water when they are holidaying than at home. Trekking activities in mountainous region often result in over consumption of food. Tour buses are also a cause of pollution as they emit CFC, CO2 and other green house gases as they often leave their motor running for hours so that tourists could return to air-conditioned comfort. Waste disposal system is also a serious problem in most of the tourist destination all over the world. For example in Kumarokom and Vemband lake in Kerala. Wastes from the houseboats has boosted the growth of algae which causes a serious damage to the ecosystem.

Wildlife viewing puts stress on animals and has changed their behavioral patterns. Noise and commotion created by tourists have adverse effect on their behavioural pattern. Global tourism is also one of the major reasons of climate change as it involves 50 per cent of traffic movements which results in the emission of green house gases.

So if one wants to enjoy nature one must preserve it, otherwise all the exotic destinations will become extinct and the world will not be a beautiful place to live in. Eco friendly tourism should be promoted all over the world and if marvels of nature should be preserved, tourism should take into account the principle and process of sustainable consumption.

Shruti Roy

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