Visakhapatnam

Tourist flow could be a threat to environment

Lack of sustainable policy and waste management plans may ruin tourist spots in Agency areas

As the debate to make Visakhapatnam as the Executive capital rages, environmentalists and tribal organisations fear that the Agency areas of Visakhapatnam district and some prominent tourist spots in the city will see a sudden rise in tourist footfall. Environmentalists also bat for a sustainable policy for tourism development in the region.

Environmentalists say that there has been a rapid increase in the number of tourists coming from various parts to Visakhapatnam Agency in the last few years. Thousands of tourist have been flocking Araku, Borra Caves, Paderu, Chintapalle, Lambasingi and Chaparai for the past couple of years. However, the steps being taken by the government to tackle pollution issue are inadequate, they allege.

Dumping waste

"A visit to Lambasingi, Borra caves, Kothapalle, Chaparai will make one understand how the tourist spots have been damaged. Tourists have been dumping food waste, liquor bottles and plastic waste, which is a serious concern.

Local tribal people are facing a huge problem with the dumping of waste on the roads and farm fields," said Killo Surendra, president of Andhra Pradesh Girijana Sangham.

K. Bhanumathi from Dhaatri NGO said they had been continuously writing to the government to come up with some sustainable policy with clear environment regulations and Acts. "This is completely irresponsible tourism, and ecotourism has no definition over here. In various parts such as Lambasingi, Kothapalle and many others, social security problems, environment problems have increased due to mass tourism and lack of proper government policies," she said.

Ms. Bhanumathi pointed out that none of the areas in the Agency had been following proper waste management techniques. If the capital city becomes a reality, then there would definitely be a hike in tourist footfall. With the government policies being inadequate, lack of proper solid waste management techniques and infrastructure, this could be a severe threat to the environment," she added.

Plastic ban

Officials from Integrated Tribal Development Authority (ITDA) said they had been implementing plastic ban in Araku since last year. However, restricting water packets is a major issue to deal, as tourists bring them from other places. "If we restrict water sachets, we should be able to provide drinking water facility at all the tourist spots for which there are no funds at present," an official from ITDA said.

Many residents living close to the city beaches such as Rushikonda and Bheemunipatnam also have been facing problem from tipsy tourists. We have lodged several complaints with the police, but the police say that due to shortage of manpower, they are unable organise intensive patrolling along the Beach Road stretch from RK Beach to Bheemunipatnam, said a resident of Sagar Nagar.

However, a senior police officer said that things could be sorted out if the government cleared the tourism police station proposal.

Security

Senior police officer said that most of the tourist spots were being maintained by private security agencies, who appoint guards to deal with tipsy tourists and also to check sanitation issue."Being a Maoist-prone area, we cannot be present in uniform at most of the spots. It is the responsibility of the private agencies to take care of the menace," the police officer said.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 6:16:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/tourist-flow-could-be-a-threat-to-environment/article30777764.ece

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