December 8, 2022, Thursday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Tourism with no carbon foot-print

Nepal can initiate without delay

The Nepal Weekly
January 11, 2022

COVID-19 pandemic had stopped all activities of tourism in the year 2020 and 2021. However, slow recovery has been seen in the second half of the year 2021. Omicron variant seen recently has again posing threats to all.

Moreover, taking climate change crisis linked to tourism industry is one serious agenda that needs to handle carefully. Keeping in view use of renewable energy technologies to replace fossil fuel, it is more important to the country like Nepal.

Research and development in energy technologies had brought out a deal of environment friendly products which can contribute to reduce environmental impacts and support to reduce climate change effects. Thus, it is time for tourism in Nepal to consider on shifting to non-polluting technologies to use. Transport system for tourism industry can be taken into consideration as a first pick. So as every transport – cars, suvs, buses – involved in tourism industry can be electric drive as most viable electric vehicles are now available in international market. Similarly, using of electric bicycles for tourists for travel to city and surroundings may be another ‘exclusive environment friendly product’ of in Nepal.

The tourism industry is sick itself due to pandemic. As the industry will not be able to shift to electric at this ruined condition, the government and relevant institutions have to extend support to make it happen. Some new private entrepreneurs should be promoted to come into being to support the industry in Nepal to avail all electric driven transportation by renting where and when needed. A study is a need of the hour to conduct to design an appropriate plan to this effect.

In the broader scenario, negative impacts from tourism occur when the travellers use is greater than the environment’s ability to cope with. Uncontrolled conventional tourism poses potential threats to many natural areas around the world. It can put enormous pressure on an area and lead to impacts such as soil erosion, increased pollution, discharges into the sea, natural habitat loss, increased pressure on endangered species and heightened vulnerability to forest fires. It often puts a strain on water resources, and it can force local populations to compete for the use of critical resources.

Air pollution and noise transport by air, road, and rail is continuously increasing in response to the rising number of tourists and their greater mobility which is not in increment due to restrictions caused by COVID-19 pandemic. One study estimated that a single transatlantic return flight emits almost half the CO2 emissions produced by all other sources (lighting, 2 heating, car use, etc.) consumed by an average person per year. Transport emissions and emissions from energy production and use are linked to acid rain, global warming and photochemical pollution.

Moreover, air pollution from tourist transportation has impacts on global level, especially from carbon dioxide emissions related to transportation energy use. And it can contribute 2 to severe local air pollution. Some of these impacts are quite specific to tourist activities. For example, especially in very hot or cold countries, tour buses often leave their motors running for hours while the tourists go out for an excursion because they want to return to a comfortably air-conditioned bus. Noise pollution from airplanes, cars, and buses, as well as recreational vehicles such as snowmobiles and jet skis, is a problem of modern life. In addition to causing annoyance, stress, and even hearing loss for humans, it causes distress to wildlife, especially in sensitive areas.

Climate scientists say that the Earth’s surface temperatures have risen rapidly in recent years because of an increase in the so-called greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which trap heat from the Sun. One of the most significant of these gases is carbon dioxide, which is generated by burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas are burned. Industries, electricity generating thermal plants, and automobiles are the examples. Likewise, there are changes in land use, such as deforestation. In the long run, accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere cause global climate change.

Tourism has the potential to increase public appreciation of the environment and to spread awareness of environmental problems when it brings people into closer contact with nature and the environment. This confrontation may heighten awareness of the value of nature and lead to environmentally conscious behaviour and activities to preserve the environment. If it is to be sustainable in the long run, tourism must incorporate the principles and practices of sustainable consumption. Sustainable consumption includes building consumer demand for products that have been made using cleaner production techniques, and for services including tourism services that are provided in a way that minimizes environmental impacts.

The tourism industry can play a key role in providing environmental information and raising awareness among tourists of the environmental consequences of their actions. Tourists and tourism-related businesses consume an enormous quantity of goods and services; moving them toward using those that are produced and provided in an environmentally sustainable way could have an enormous positive impact on the planet’s environment, UNEP stated in 1992.

Thus, in the context of widening awareness on climate actions at global, regional and local levels, this may be a right suggestion to tourism leaders to consider on shift to energy sources from fossil fuel based to renewable energy technology based ones. That means electric transportation systems to adopt replacing the vehicles run by fossil fuels at the earliest possible. (By R. P. Narayan)