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Embracing The Practice Of Eco-friendly Travelling

Everyone is fond of beautiful places but no one is considered about keeping it beautiful.

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Generally, people often travel for the sake of leisure and entertainment - a retreat from the regular hustle of daily life. At such a time, rarely any individual stop to think of the footprints that they leave behind on the environment. From bottled water alone, which is counted as a necessity while travelling, landfills full of waste is generated which takes millions of years to lose its trace.

With a swift boost in the travel and tourism industry in last few years, it is still not realised by many that how much tourists have ruined those locations by turning it into a garbage pit. With every year passing by, travel enthusiasts are causing wanton destruction to the environment to fulfil their need of drinking water from a plastic bottle, the major cause for pollution. Every second, about 1500 plastic water bottles are being disposed of in a landfill and ocean. One pet plastic bottle takes about 700 years to start decomposing. 

Though the travel businesses are flourishing, the environment is not. It is being spoiled day by day. It needs to be protected. The natural habitat is required to be treated respectfully and every individual should contribute significantly towards preserving the planet while travelling. To safeguard the environment, it is not necessary to take big steps but just a small step towards changing our basic habits such as reducing our own plastic usage, not throwing litter around on roads, disposing waste properly is enough to bring a significant change. It makes a huge impact when millions of people decide to adapt healthy way of doing things and change their habits which are harmful for the planet. 

Everyone is fond of beautiful places but no one is considered about keeping it beautiful.

How can individual tourists make an impact? 

It can make a world of difference if each one of the 1.3 billion odd travellers in a year consciously choose not to litter on roads and throw plastic. It is said that US alone consumes 50 billion bottles of water being bought each year and 80% of those end up in a landfill. Even if 10% of the usage is reduced, that will mean saving of about 1.7 million barrel of oil used in producing that 10%. 

Travellers/tourists should carry reusable water bottles and refill them as when they need. In a four-day Tiger safari trip during summers, an average guest consumes about 16 litres of water - which becomes 16 plastic bottles of 1 litre. A reusable, refillable water bottle saves this futile waste. It just takes a conscious mind shift to take this initiative. Furthermore, this always leads to a followership - when an individual leads a change, his/her family members or friends travelling with them also take the plunge.

How travel companies can drive the change? 

One of the things which travel companies can do proactively is to dissuade the use of plastics. In India, there are a significant number of resorts which has taken a step towards restoring the environment. These resorts choose to provide reusable water bottles in the rooms and provide water dispensers all around the facility to refill the bottles. To create awareness, travel companies can provide a reusable water bottle to travellers at the start of the journey and encourage them to re-fill it. Particularly, when big travel companies drive this change, it will significantly impact the global usage of water bottles, thereby, reducing the amount of waste produced every year.

There needs to be a conscious effort on reducing litter on the streets as well. In the initial briefing to the guests, travel companies must reinforce the concept of “zero litter” during the trips and request all litter to be disposed in designated bins at hotels or the tourist attractions. A change in mindset and joint efforts of all the travel enthusiasts can drive this initiative of saving the environment.

“Green travel” or a sustainable and eco-friendly way of travelling isn’t just a viral trend to follow for some time - it’s a way of life all should adopt and implement. Every individual can initiate by planning an eco-trip end-to-end. And in fact, today’s young travellers are wiser and are choosing to travel responsibly without littering the places they visit.

As Jon Bruno, Executive Director of the International Ecotourism Society says, “Leave the place better than you found it.”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Alankar Chandra

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