Eco-friendly is the way to be

Focus state

While most of the states of India exhibited products and promoted their local craft at the just concluded IITF, the Andaman and Nicobar islands, on the other hand promoted eco-tourism, which is the need of the hour when it comes to conserving nature. 

Eco tourism, an entirely new approach, is about travelling to different areas to appreciate the cultural and natural history of their environment while taking care not to disturb the integrity of the prevailing eco-system and creating economic opportunities for the locals. This makes conservation and protection of natural resources advantageous.

Explaining the concept of eco tourism in the Islands, Bashudeb Haldar, manager, tourism department, says, “We are promoting tourism without pollution. Our effort is to tell people to be friendly with the environment and to take care of their fast-diminishing natural resources.” Eco tourism, is nature-based, ecologically sustainable activity, where education and interpretation is a major constituent and where local people are benefited too.

The Andaman and Nicobar islands which survive only on tourism have lush green tropical forests, rich bio-diversity, serene beaches, corals and other marine life, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and above all pollution-free surroundings which attract thousands of tourists round the year.

Adding to their plans of going forward and making tourists aware about their environment, Bashudeb adds, “For instance, we ask people not to throw their mineral water bottles here and there. Instead, we ask them to return those bottles to us and in return we give them some part of the money spent for buying that bottle. This way two things are taken care of - one people do not litter and second, the environment is also taken care of.”

Andaman and Nicobar islands comprise 572 islands, islets and rocks of which only 38 islands are inhabited. The islands have all the necessary ingredients for a sustainable eco-tourism industry – a turquoise blue sea; talc-like beaches and sheer richness of tropical flora and fauna. All we need to do is preserve and conserve them before it gets fully commercialised.

“Andaman and Nicobar Islands are among the most beautiful places in India. The things you find here, cannot be found anywhere else. One has to witness it to believe it, but also should keep in mind to preserve the nature,” is the message Bashudeb leaves us with.

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