With the development of tourism in Pakistan and increase in number of foreign and local tourists after the last decade. The uncontrolled and unprecedented tourism also causes damage to the environment and natural habitat. This is obviously due to the fact that Pakistan is an extremely beautiful country. Check out 7 Must See Beautiful Natural Phenomena in Pakistan.
Environmental Damage Due To Irresponsible Tourists In Pakistan
Let’s take the example of Khunjerab Pass which is the world’s highest mountain pass that connects China and Pakistan and a popular tourist destination recently. Despite being located inside a national park tourist don’t follow the instructions about the solid waste disposal, neither there is any specific solid waste disposal mechanism. The local people take on the responsibility to keep their areas clean. Most of the foods are served in plastic containers and thrown directly into the streams and rivers nearby.
All of the laws such as the ban on plastics, implementation on fines and rules breaking exists but the there is no law enforcement as either the number of police is lesser or the rules are not being implemented. Even if this smaller number of police officers is increased and proper monitoring is done it could make a huge difference for everyone as Pakistan has been declared a must visit country for 2021 in national forums while Pakistan is still not ready for such vast number of tourists. As presently there is no check and balance so littering and waste disposal is not being managed. We need proper check and balance otherwise Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan will bear the brunt of pollution and the environmental damage due to boost in tourism.
Environmental Damage Due To Newly Made Hotels, Resorts And Tourists Spots
We just discussed the the Environmental Impacts of Growing Tourism Industry of Pakistan due to tourist and their irresponsible attitude side of the story, there is another side to the story which is equally disturbing.
The newly made hotels, resorts and tourists spots that have sprung up in different tourist destinations in Pakistan are becoming a cause of environmental damage to these areas. These companies or huge businesses are usually not the natives of those areas and are simply business entities looking to make a profit – even at the cause of environmental degradation. Some even throw all their garbage in the rivers or lakes, while the locals and inhabitants are against such activities that destroy their natural environment preserved for hundreds of years but they are helpless. Pakistan is the home to one of worlds oldest living tribal community, the Kailash community and they have complained about the plastic pollution several number of times.
Have a look at: National Parks in Pakistan – Fauna, Flora and Importance
Tourism – A Solution to Pakistan’s Economic Woes
As we already know that Pakistan is going through a disastrous economic crisis in its history and is trying to clear this crisis and debts by promoting tourism activities. According to the governmental official records more than 2 million visitors, visited the KPK province during the June 2021 week long holidays despite the pandemic. Although Pakistan’s infrastructure is very weak to support such number of tourists during the peak summer season. You might also like: 10 Ways to Eradicate Solid Waste – Methods of Reducing Waste
Tourism carrying capacity is the highest possible number of tourists that can visit a place at the same time without causing damage to the economic, physical and social, cultural environment. It is clear that each year the number of tourists in Pakistan exceeds the tourism carrying capacity. While the tourists in Pakistan are also destroying the and disturbing the local communities.
Building Resorts Without Environmental Planning
The Malaam Jaba skiing resort had been inaugurated by the Prime Minister Imran Khan in the year 2016. The resort is located 9000 feet above the ground. This resort offers chair lift facility and lush green views of the valley from chair lift. A local shop rents out the skiing equipment and provides training facility also. A new five-star hotel is also open in the valley. While no specific estimate can be provided as of yet the damage posed to the environment and cutting down of the forests. While the government is also cutting down trees and timbers for the expansion of the roads and Swat highway is also completed. The number of tourists has been increased and is expected to increase in the upcoming season also. There has been no specific plan drafted to control, manage and supervise this coming rush to the mountains. The commercialization of the valley will only ruin its natural beauty.
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Risk of Accidents Due to Poor Infrastructure
Deaths due to the overcrowding on the already unstable bridges and huge number of people taking selfies on them is common during the tourist’s season. Most of the roads are already very narrow and dangerous where landslides can occur. These remote areas also don’t have any electricity grid and water pipes. Therefore, they use electricity through generators that burn fossil fuels and also pollute the environment. There is also a lack of hotels. Proper environmental and waste management is also lacking. Accidents under such conditions have and will continue to occur unless something is done about these issues.
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Opportunities and Benefits of Tourism in Pakistan
This new tourism spots and resorts will provide new job opportunities to the local communities and can also influence the development of the roads, infrastructure and economic growth also in the far-flung areas. However, it is important that these new destinations provide jobs as well as promote sustainability also in the longer term also.
The tourism in Pakistan has so much potential in it while giving more opportunities we must not try to cause irreversible damage to it. New tourists spots and destinations needs to be explored and developed so that overcrowded spots can be less crowded. While finding and developing new spots sustainability should be the foremost important thing to be kept in mind. We should try to focus research and development on ecotourism and hire researchers to explore this latest avenue in tourism.
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I dream of becoming planet Earth’s greatest environmental scientist and climate change activist. Utilising my carbon foot print to create social media awareness and promote sustainability.