Traveling is one of the favorite activities of people around the world especially the millennials, but sometimes it can have a harmful effect on the environment.
Tourism may positively impact one’s country or city in terms of economic advantages, employment opportunities, foreign exchange earnings, and growth in the service sector. However, it may also put pressure on the environment, especially when there’s a huge number of visitors in regions where the resources are already inadequate.
In fact, unrestrained traditional tourism has possible threats to a lot of natural resources from across the globe. It can lead to a lot of major problems that could totally harm the environment, such as natural habitat loss, increased pollution, soil erosion, and more. It will never be a great idea to exceed limits when it comes to tourism, particularly if the natural resources are at stake.
Early this year, Thailand government closed down Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nui and Koh Khai Naiin- three popular islands in the coast of Phuket because of the negative impact of tourists in the Islands. This decision was weeks after Koh Tachai, one of Thailand’s National Park has been closed because of coral bleaching and damages to the marine ecosystem.
Watcharin Na Thalang, regional chief of Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources said that coral bleaching occurs naturally (also caused by climate change) and also from human activity.
“This includes the increasing number of tourists, boats that anchor on the corals, people walking on corals while playing in the water, feeding marine animals and catching them to take photos of with them,” Watcharin explained.
It is not just the ocean and the island that tourism is slowly killing. It has tons of negative effect to the environment.
1) Increased Air Pollution
The air pollution coming from tourist transportation is one of the major negative effects of tourism. Traveling by rail, air, and road results to air pollution that damages the environment. Apparently, a large portion of air emissions is caused by 60% of air travel from tourists going from one place to another. Additionally, transport emissions can result to photochemical pollution, acid rain, and global warming.
Campervans and car rentals are popular travel transportation in countries like Australia and New Zealand and are one of the leading cause of air pollution. Though some campervan hire companies in the said countries are going for environmentally safe vehicles, so if you are planning a road adventure, you can try a nature friendly and affordable campervan for hire in Tasmania, Brisbane and other cities in the region. With this, you can be sure that you are helping out in protecting the environment in your own little way.
2) Land Degradation
Land resources consist of forests, wildlife, minerals, fertile soil, wetland, and fossil fuels. The expanded construction of recreational facilities adds more pressure to both stunning landscapes and natural resources. This may result to land degradation because of the changes that is happening, which are deleterious to the land resources. More so, forests regularly endure the destructive effect of tourism as deforestation created by land clearing as well as fuel wood accumulation.
3) Shortage of Water Resources
One of the most essential natural resources is water. It is very evident that the tourism industry overuses the water resources for the development of golf courses, swimming pools, hotels, and even the personal use of water by some tourists. As a result, these could lead to the degradation of water supplies and water shortages. It is never really proper to waste water as everyone’s told to conserve it in any ways at home. So, it is better to save water as much as possible, since water scarcity is being a major issue in some parts of the world now.
The impact of tourism are of course attributed to ignorant and overzealous tourists who blatantly ignores environmental rules. And closing down islands are the first step in ensuring that the environment is not damaged beyond repair.
With climate change still posing great damage to natural resources around the world, pro-active approaches like what Thailand did, despite its huge blow on their tourism and economy, might be the best way to protect the Earth.