94. environmental impacts of tourism


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94. environmental impacts of tourism

  1. 1. 1 Environmental impacts of tourism - a case study of Ladakh, Indian Himalaya – Table of Content 1 Environmental impacts of tourism....................................................................................... 2 1.1 Physical Environment................................................................................................... 2 1.2 Resources and Infrastructure ........................................................................................ 3 2 Case study of Ladakh, Indian Himalaya.............................................................................. 3 References.................................................................................................................................. 8
  2. 2. 2 1 Environmental impacts of tourism In recent time, the debate between travelling and its environmental impacts mainly focuses on such problems as aviation, climate change, or global warming (Wong, 2004). In particular, there are many discussions about negative impacts of tourism, primarily emphasizing carbon emission. Obviously, when there are many burgeoning flights flying human to distant places in the world, the return of fossil carbon, as a consequence, may become a great concern. In addition to this, there are also nitrogen oxides and water vapour which is seldom mentioned but these factors make contributions to greenhouse effect. 1.1 Physical Environment Apart from intangible impacts like emissions, tourism has many other impacts which can be seen immediately. For example, in some cases, large number of passengers and visitors leads to negative influence on physical environment. Normally, when a place becomes well-known among the public, such investments as building or expanding will be made, resulting in the damage to local environment. According to Sunlu (2003), it is inevitable that more restaurants and hotels will be built; putting high pressure on local infrastructure and even, this place may suffer from light pollution as well. One typical example is about the Greek Islands where there are many restaurants along the beach to attract the tourists; however, light spillage causes the disadvantage to the hatch of sea tortoises. The overuse is not limited to seaside resorts or even overseas holiday destinations. Among some popular national parks in Britain, there is the signal of erosion and damage to mountain paths and forestry walks such as eroded path and excessive rubbish which are unintentional but unwelcome. It may be one great irony that more people choose to spend their holidays at home because this can not only serve their benefits but contribute to reduce excessive carbon emission into the environment as well.
  3. 3. 3 1.2 Resources and Infrastructure As a consequence of seasonal tourism, there is also higher demand for local resources, especially for distant and poor places in the globe. In the destinations where local infrastructure is weak or even where local infrastructure can possibly meet the needs of tourism, gradual deterioration of the environment is inevitable. This deterioration can be restricted or improved only if there are new important investments in accordance with tourism boom. The consumption of water, energy, or food will be certainly higher. Greater water demand from lakes or rivers and higher energy demand to serve hydro-electric schemes can have negative impacts on aquatic habitats. What is more, tourism may lead to increasing pressures in the management and control of waste and wastewater. Particularly, it is also an important concern even in developed nations where the resorts are built around small populations. It is because small and weak original facilities cannot meet high demand from overloaded tourism in seasonal time (Archer and Cooper, 2013). And this concern will become even worse in developing nations in which current infrastructure is weak and there is the shortage of resources (Nyaupanen and Thapa, 2006). Besides, tourism burden may extend and worsen the degree of local struggles or treatments. Apart from flying concerns, negative impacts on the environment when travelling can be avoidable, including higher demand or greater damage to local resources. Nevertheless, in case of recognizing the damage or environmental impacts the tourists may cause, it is possible to restrict and reduce these damage or impacts. Each individual tourist can raise his awareness about negative results of these damages in order to reduce environmental impacts to the minimum level. 2 Case study of Ladakh, Indian Himalaya Ladakh is a part of the State of Jamnu and Kashmir in India, including two districts: the Kargil district and the Leh district (Figure 1) This region contains some protected areas, in particularly; the Ramsar Convention has the recoginition of wetland conservation for Hemis National Park, Changthang High-altitude Wetland Reserve or there is no delineation about the boundaries of Karakoram Wildlife Sanctuary yet.
  4. 4. 4 Source: UN map Figure 1 Ladakh region and its location in India Kucharski, R. (2012) reported that during the last three decades, in Ladakh, tourism pattern experienced three periods: period I (1974-1989), period II (1989-2002), and period III (2002- now). In the first period, the number of tourists grew slowly and steadily, reaching a peak of approximately 25,000 people in 1989. In the second period, there were high fluctuations with a slight increase from about 8000 to more than 20,000 people each year. Lastly, in the thirst period, there was an exponential growth and in 2006, the number of tourists was 50,000 people. These periods were all under the governance of two aspects: policy and accessibility. In the second period, it was political crisis among Himalayan states and regions which caused dramatic decrease in the number of visitors. In the meantime, domestic tourism policies, along with improving aviation and infrastructure contributed to result in a rapid increase in the number of tourists in India. In the third period, exponential growth is currently enhanced by political stability, and the impacts of the crisis on neighbor nations, as well as marketing investments and promotions. Some insights mentioned the impacts of tourism on the environment in Ladakh (Geneletti and Dawa, 2009). In this area, going camping and dumping rubbish are main factors related to trekking since there are no waste bins or no formal and well-organized campsites. Generally, there is high waste accumulation due to the distance between the campsites and residential areas.
  5. 5. 5 Meanwhile, in the presence of villages near the campsites, the amount of waste will be certainly less. As a consequence, this matter will become extremely serious for distant and poorly- accessible regions (Jina, 1994). In particular, despite large space of these areas, tourism pattern just focuses on some main trails, and the tourists have no awareness of the remaining trails. In order to have full and comprehensive understanding about the burden of famous trails, it is noticeable that trekking needs seven pack animals and five porters for every group of ten visitors (Figure 2). Source: Geneletti and Dawa (2009) Figure 2 Tourist, porter and pack animal inflow on trekking trail In Changthang, off-road driving may threaten the survival of both flora and fauna in the wetlands, some of which are mentioned in the Red List of IUCN. Overgrazing does not cause significant impacts towards Chanthang because there are many available grass-lands and few pack-animals. Nevertheless, this region has to deal with vegetation damage – one matter occurs in the places where the campsites are near riverside vegetation strips (Darcha trail, for example). Apart from the Nubra Vally, the emergence of the campsites has significant influence on these wetlands which have just been open to tourism, and thus, there are only few numbers of hotels as well as other tourism infrastructures. Through the comparison between the composite impact map in Figure 3 and protected areas, there is a conclusion that the Hemis and the Tsokar
  6. 6. 6 Tsomoriri National Parks are significantly and seriously affected by the degradation of the environment as a consequence of tourism pattern. The Hemis National Park faced bad impacts from tourism because of its close proximity to Leh – the main tourism center in this area and this park did not have a comprehensive management strategy. As a consequence, this analysis may make contributions to raise a planning program or a management method in order to support the prevention of greater environmental degradation. Source: Geneletti and Dawa (2009) Figure 3 Watershed-based composite impact map In the last 10 years, an increase of trekking high mountains contributed to increase the number of trekkers not only in Ladakh but in Himalayan states and areas as well. Accordingly, mountain trekking gradually becomes one income source, making great contributions to economic growth and development of these regions. Nevertheless, the development of tourism pattern is parallel to the threat of Ladakh’s environmental degradation because of fragile ecosystems and insufficient infrastructures, and policies, as well as planning techniques (Kucharski, 2012). And Kershaw (2009) research has been done in order to provide the first contributions to this concern. Through the analysis of valuable resource allocation and trekking pattern, there is an overview about the most important regions. Kucharski (2012) indicates that local authorities may have to take the probability of building the entire area for tourism development into consideration. Recently, the
  7. 7. 7 visitors or the tourists can possibly access half of the area. However, there is a controversy related to the openness of the remaining area to tourism, and the main reason is due to national security. Besides, environmental problems are also relevant and can contribute to make decisions; however, it is required to study, build the model, and disseminate the influence of tourism on the environment at present and in the future. In case new regions are open and invested for the development of tourism, protection methods must be done properly in order to avoid the degradation of the environment. The findings of the research may be applied to mitigate environmental impacts. For instance, trekking is oriented to less sensitive regions or regions which are allocated more homogeneously between trails. The last thing is that in general, it is hard to estimate tourism influence which contains both direct and indirect impacts. Weare (2009) offered the solutions to the effects of trekking activity – the most common tourism pattern in the area. This study could be broadened to imply other kinds of environmental effects. Particularly, an important problem mentioned in this study is related to the development in and around Leh as a consequence of tourism pattern. There are many legal and illegal buildings situated at poor locations like riversides or low hills. The establishment of new hotels as well as other tourism infrastructures contributes to occupy and encroach the agriculture land. In the outskirts or on the hills, many houses or just mere walls are built for the purpose of land speculation. Therefore, urban development and tourism growth in Leh need further studies, monitoring, and control to provide the appropriate spatial planning policies. This document is provided by: VU Thuy Dung (Ms.) Manager Center for Online Writing Resources Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/vu.thuydung.5076 Email : assignmentsource@gmail.com Blogger : http://assignmentsource.blogspot.com/ Website : http://assignmentsource.com/
  8. 8. 8 References Wong, P. P. (2004). Environmental impacts of tourism. A Companion to Tourism, 450. Sunlu, U. (2003). Environmental impacts of tourism. In Conference on the Relationships between Global Trades and Local Resources in the Mediterranean Region, Rabat (Morocco), Apr 2002. CIHEAM-IAMB. Archer, B., & Cooper, C. (2013). 5 The positive and negative impacts of tourism. Global Tourism~ autofilled~, 63. Nyaupane, G. P., & Thapa, B. (2006). Perceptions of environmental impacts of tourism: A case study at ACAP, Nepal. The International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 13(1), 51-61. Geneletti, D., & Dawa, D. (2009). Environmental impact assessment of mountain tourism in developing regions: A study in Ladakh, Indian Himalaya. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 29(4), 229-242. Kucharski, R. (2012). Trekking in Ladakh. Cicerone Press. Kershaw, G. (2009). Lighting ladakh: using tourism to overcome crisis. In International Trade Forum (No. 1, pp. 13-17). International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO. Jina, P. S. (1994). Tourism in Ladakh Himalaya. Indus Publishing. Weare, G. (2009). Trekking in the Indian Himalaya. Lonely Planet.