Whenever we think about tourism with respect to our environment the first concept that comes to our mind is the ecotourism. Ecotourism is a type of tourism that involves efficient use of environment through eco-friendly transport conserving the environment and educating the tourists to help in raising funds for environmental conservation and support to locals of that area. It also helps in provision of job and economic prospects. While we talk about ecotourism there has been a rapid increase in the number of tourists in Pakistan as there are new and unexplored sites being identified for tourism. Check out: 7 Must See Beautiful Natural Phenomena in Pakistan
Whenever a new tourist spot is discovered before even the basic facilities like the electricity and gas is provided there is a huge influx of opening of resorts either by the locals or by the outsiders. There is a line of multinational companies ready to open resorts, hotels and lounges in our northern Pakistan even before the provision of basic necessities of life. Though it provides a huge economic and opportunity boost for the locals it comes at a cost for our environment. Most of the locals from Hunza valley have testified that the local resorts provide opportunities to outsiders and are destroying their natural habitat. One such incident can be mentioned in which last year a concert had been arranged in local resort without any notice to authorities. Such incidents create noise pollution for the locals. The locals that have been living there for decades and centuries care more about their environment than people who are there for merely few days.
Have a look at: Environmental Damage Due to Tourism Industry of Pakistan
How Construction of Big Hotels, Restaurants and Resorts In Northern Areas of Pakistan Is Destroying The Environment?
The multinational companies cut down lush green forests for their resorts and other infrastructure while destroying the natural habitat. They dump down their waste into the valley, cut down thousands of years old forest for their own benefit. People while visiting such resorts break down social norms such as throwing garbage on the roads, spitting on roads. The main purpose of ecotourism is to facilitate tourists with respect to their environment but these big resorts are here only to earn money and destroy the natural habitat.
We can easily observe that whenever we visit the north part, we remember a special place or a site that holds importance for us but on our next visit, we see a new resort or hotel there. There used to be a children park in Donga Gali that has been occupied or sold to a multinational fast-food chain and resort. While the rest of the park is unattended by the government and is in a devastating condition. Sometimes, even National Parks aren’t safe from unregulated and uncontrolled development and construction. You may want to read the following article for more information: Impact of Human Activities on Margalla Hills National Park
1. Construction Activities
The construction activities at a rapid rate have started that has only lead to habitat destruction such as the Monarch butterfly in the Galiyaat could have easily seen but due to habitat destruction it has become endangered by IUCN. Loud noise can disturb the wildlife and disrupt their nesting sites and scare animals away. Several nocturnal animals are also disturbed. Although Attabad lake is formed due to landslide but the multinational chain of hotels have also found opportunity in it by making resorts and throwing their garbage into the lake banks. New and new hotels are in the race of construction without knowing the consequences to the environment.
You may also want to read: Environmental Impacts of Growing Tourism Industry of Pakistan
2. Construction of Hotels, Restaurants and Resorts On River Banks and Flood Plains
In Northern Areas of Pakistan, especially Kalam, Swat the devastation by the recent floods has proven how constructing hotels, restaurants and resorts on flood plains is an extremely terrible idea with extremely terrible consequences. Climate changes have resulted in more extreme flooding in Pakistan which not only inundates the flood plains but also other nearby low-lying areas. Therefore, any sort of construction on or near flood plains should be avoided.
3. Deforestation For Timber And To Clear Land
Most of the hotels require wood for fuel purposes and other heating facilities as well as for construction and furniture, thus they cut down the wood and timber. Most of the boreal and coniferous forest is already lost due to expansion of roads and other resorts construction. One such example is the cutting down of trees for construction in Arang kel, Azad Kashmir and Kalam, Swat. Learn more about Deforestation – Causes, Effects, and Solutions.
4. Waste Generation And Improper Waste Disposal
Most of the times it is observed that these resorts use plastic cups, plates , bottles in their restaurants . Their is a huge generation of solid waste but still there is no proper mechanism of solid waste disposal. Also the hotel owners throw their waste in the valleys without the authorities imposing any fine on them. More resorts means more tourists and more solid waste improper disposal. Learn more about Solid Waste Management Techniques.
5. Unsupervised And Excessive Water Intake From The Environment
As we discussed above more resorts means more tourists. Therefore these people require more water for their daily use. Moreover these resorts acquire water from the nearby rivers or lakes or from the underground water thus decreasing already depleted resources. For more info: Water Scarcity Crisis in Pakistan: Causes, Effects, Solutions
6. Soil Erosion And Degradation
With the increase in tourists spots. More and more resorts are created near hiking areas such as Mushkpuri top or Meeranji top. People use alternative spots for hiking instead of natural pathways for short hikes. As result natural top soil erodes. People throw garbage at these hiking valleys and try to do barbecue that is a big no for open parks and might wildfires. Land-clearing for over-construction also results in soil erosion. Also read: Soil Erosion and Degradation – Causes, Effects, and Solutions
7. Habitat Destruction And Impact On Species
Uncontrolled and unplanned construction causes habitat destruction which in turn negatively impact plant and animal species of that specific area, especially the endemic species. Learn more about Endemic or Native Fauna and Flora of Pakistan.
Also check out: Migratory Birds and Flyways of Pakistan – Location, Seasons
It has become necessary for us as individuals and responsible citizens to promote eco-tourism as much as possible . We should stand against the unplanned and uncontrollable construction of resorts that destroy the beauty of our north as well as the environment.
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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.