Tourism can pollute

Letters

“Environmentalists” are now mainstream so the label is similar to “citizens.”  The people who made beach fires, painted the cliff face, and left garbage at Sandcut Beach probably never gave the environment or their fellow citizens much thought.  We could label them “ignorant citizens.”  No need to say “informed citizens” when we think about environmentalists.  Most people know their actions do affect their world and so they want to be careful not careless.  They want to treasure what we have and plan for alternate energy, climate change and food security.

Some food for thought from the global menu:

Seasonal flooding in Viet Nam’s Mekong Delta is the norm but still the area has supported 17 million people with crops of rice and citrus. Now a “salty season” caused by sea level changes also affects the delta for five months a year, with salinity spreading 56 km inland last April.  The salinity and area affected increases each year, damaging agriculture and forcing people to import fresh water.  At present, nearly half of Viet Nam’s rice supply comes from the Mekong Delta.  A one metre rise in sea level will put about one third of the delta underwater.

Tourism done wrong is not a benign industry.  The Indian state of Goa invited the world but wasn’t prepared for the numbers who arrived.  Rivers and beaches are now so polluted that perhaps the only tourists left will be vandals who build beach fires and leave garbage and graffiti. Local people in Goa now live year round with the degradation of the paradise that was carelessly put on the market.

Maybe ignorant citizens out for recreation in Goa and at Sandcut Beach think social and economic equality means everyone should live in a degraded world so they are working hard to bring it about.

Heather Phillips

Sooke

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