Long considered by many as the best time of the year to visit this hill station, summer is also viewed as the worst from the environment and pollution point of view.
The reason: Many among the tourists coming to ‘enjoy’ the season here leave behind their mark — in one form or the other — on the ecology of the place and their vehicles considerably increase air pollution while many of hawkers from the plains trading in a variety of items including cheap musical instruments, add to the noise pollution.
As a result, long after the season is over, the ‘hangover’ lingers for the town and its residents.
With the season on the verge of entering its peak period, the district administration and the Department of Tourism are evolving ways to promote responsible tourism.
At the same time, concern is growing over the ‘irresponsible’ activities of ‘insensitive’ tourists.
With the number of tourists coming up to the hills with packed food and cooking accessories rising every year, many of the ecologically sensitive areas have been converted into picnic spots.
Since the majority of them think nothing of leaving behind the discarded plates, cups and packets, apart from the leftovers, environmental problems have escalated.
Boards erected at prominent places appealing to the visitors to protect the environment are ignored.
Though the district administration has stepped up its campaign to combat the plastic menace, tourists belonging to certain classes who constitute the bulk of the inflow seem to be oblivious to the significance of the efforts being made.
Complaints relating to tourists abusing scenic spots have started mounting.
Concerned residents and even some of the tourists said that on account of the insensitive tourists, the beauty of places such as Film Shooting Hill, Pykara Falls, Dodabetta Peak and Mudumalai Tiger Reserve — apart from the main roads — have been marred.
Environmentalists told The Hindu that if the visitors do not cooperate, the authorities concerned should evolve other ways to ensure that they obey the rules.
The tourist police concept which is reportedly doing well in some other parts of the country should be adopted here.
Discarded plates, cups, packets and leftovers pollute ecologically-sensitive areas
Officials in Nilgiris district keen on evolving ways to promote responsible tourism