Impacts of touristic activities on environment with special reference to Uttarakhand

Tourism is one of the biggest and fastest growing sectors in the global economy and has significant environmental, cultural, social and economic effects, both positive and negative. Tourism can be a major tool for economic development but, if not properly planned it can have destructive effects on biodiversity and pristine environments, and can result in the misuse of natural resources such as freshwater, forests and other. At a number of sites tourism development has resulted in serious water shortage affecting both local communities and industry, forests have been depleted and coral reefs have been damaged.Tourism is the United States’ third-largest retail industry, behind only automotive dealers and food stores. Although tourism was once thought of as a “smokeless” industry with few, if any, environmental impacts, recognition of its potential for adverse impacts is growing. Tourism consists of the activities undertaken during travel from home or work for the pleasure and enjoyment of certain destinations, and the facilities that cater to the needs of the tourists. Tourism industry has positive impacts on social and economical aspects such as knowledge exchange, improve living standard of people, development of area and Economic growth. On the other hand tourism has negative impacts such as air quality degradation, deteriorating water quality of concern area, solid waste generation, noise pollution etc.

Different scientists have been studied the impact of anthropogenic activities on atmosphere and they categorized the different types of pollutant which create from anthropogenic and natural activities. Researchers made studies on impact of adventure tourism in Himalayan river Ganga and described that the tourists have positive impact like as income generation, infrastructural development, popularity of their region, increased living standards of the local people, easy acceptance of new things and exposure and skill development besides positive impacts tourists have negative impacts such as environmental degradation, decline in traditional agriculture, animal husbandry, change in youth mindset, less respect to village elders, increased burden on women, family break-ups, increased out-migration. Uttarakhand fully blessed with natural resources we can find various tourists spots such as Dehradun, Mussoorie , Rishikesh, Nainital, Haridwar, Piran Kaliyar, Auli etc in Uttarakhand. Numbers of pilgrims and tourists visit these places throughout the year. Sometimes tourists make very bad impacts on natural resources of these areas. It is estimated that 10million visitors visit Haridwar city during the month of July and August during the Kanwar Fair. It is found that water borne diseases significantly risen after this Kanwar Mela. To avoid these types of problem we should think about eco-tourism or sustainable development.

‘Sustainable tourism’ is based on the principles of sustainable development. It is proposed as a way “minimizing adverse impacts on local communities, our built heritage, landscapes, water resources, habitats and species while supporting social and economic prosperity” Taking care of the environment means taking care of the visitor. For example, high water quality and improved destination management contribute to a safer and more enjoyable stay for the visitors/tourists. Built development and other activities associated with tourism should in all respects be appropriate to the character of the place in which they are situated. This applies to the scale, design and nature of the place as well as to the particular land use, economic and social requirements of the place and its surroundings. Eco-tourism is only way to conserve the natural resources therefore we should promote sustainable tourism/eco-tourism.

By – Mr. Anil Bisht
Department of Zoology
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College Of Bio-Medical Sciences & Hospital