Tourism puts enormous stress on the environment that can lead to depletion of natural resources. Plastic is non-biodegradable so a large number of one-time use plastic products remain in the environment, either in water bodies or in landfills. In this regard, The Business Standard spoke with Dr Hafiza Khatun, Professor of Department of Geography & Environment at University of Dhaka and Dr Saker Ahmed, Professor of Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management at University of Dhaka, about the harmful impacts of plastic on nature and tourism.
Dr Hafiza Khatun
It is imperative for tourists of our country to ensure that irresponsible dumping of plastic does not destroy the places they are visiting for recreation by spending a lot of money from their pockets.
In recreational places, maybe I am going today but tomorrow someone else will go, this we cannot forget. When we go to nice places and make them uglier by dumping wastages like plastics, ultimately the places lose the characteristics of a tourist spot.
The way plastics are dumped in the seas, our marine bio-diversities have come under tremendous risks over the years.
Plastic does not rot away so the products remain in the water and soil for a long time.
Plastics are of various characteristics; some are hard, soft or even like paper but all of them are equally harmful to nature.
People dumping wastages like plastic in places of natural beauties is not only about their lack of awareness, it is also about the failure of the system that does not ensure proper waste management in the tourism sector.
The government should take initiative to launch a monitoring agency to look after this sector. We need to save the environment for us and for the generations to come in the coming days.
Dr Saker Ahmed
In our country, tourists largely comprise of people from the middle class, upper middle class and upper class of the society. The poorer section cannot always afford to visit places for the purpose of pleasure.
Tourists who receive better education at schools, colleges and universities, are the people who leave wastages like plastics in the places of natural beauty where they travel for joy.
It is painful that in spite of their education and higher degrees, they are not at all aware about plastic wastages that are bad for our environment. Everywhere they go, they leave plastic packets, cups, plates etc. and do not bother to clean up.
If steps are not taken to increase awareness among our tourists about the negative impacts of plastics, our tourist destinations might face a very grim future.
To make tourists aware about managing plastic wastes, authorities need to take certain steps.
The educational curriculum should be developed in a way that will help students learn about the importance of preserving tourist spots and the negative impacts of the plastics.
The government should place appropriate signboards in popular destinations so that the tourists know where to at least properly dispose of their plastic products.
Along with public awareness, the government must take necessary steps to place dustbins so that tourists cannot litter the natural spots.
To improve the environmental aspect of tourism in Bangladesh, there should be a proper waste management sector run by the government that will take care of the environmental and hygienic issues as far as the tourists and tourism is concerned.