Tourism has been one of the worst affected sectors due to the outbreak of COVID19. It has come to a standstill affecting the livelihoods of millions. Amidst the growing concern for the recovery of the sector, World Tourism Day was celebrated on 27 September 2020 to discuss the way ahead and reboot the sector.
In order to revive the industry, the Uttarakhand government has decided to lift travel restrictions. Govt has even done away with the mandatory COVID negative certificates which were required to travel in the state. Though the people visiting the state are required to register themselves at the Dehradun Smart City Portal.
The state tourism department is welcoming the people to visit mountains, rivers and adventures of the hills at the same time guidelines have been issued to wear masks, maintain social distance, perform thermal scanning and adhere to other safety norms. On 26 September the government resumed the rafting services in the state and it witnessed an influx of more than 600 persons for the adventure sport.
demands for sustainable products are increasing and so is the growth of the bamboo industry, especially in northeast India. With culturally rich craftwork, the bamboo industry is witnessing positive growth in the northeast region. It was on Word Bamboo Day (18 September) Tripura went a step ahead and launched bamboo cookies apart from bamboo made honey bottles. State’s CM Biplab Deb launched both products on the occasion of World Bamboo Day. It is being reported that these cookies are healthy and nutritious and help is making one’s lifestyle sustainable and healthy.
As per a survey report released called, the India Happiness Report by Management Development Institute, Gurugram, Mizoram, Sikkim, and Arunachal has been ranked among India’s top 10 happy states. It was a nationwide survey to study and measure the happiness which was conducted between March and July 2020. A total of 16,950 people were approached across the country for the survey.
In order to restart and to give a boost to the tourism sector, the Himachal government has re-opened the state boundaries. The state government has removed several COVID-19 restrictions like no need for a COVID-19 negative report, dropping off the quarantine period and others. Ever since the restrictions were relaxed, hundreds of tourists have visited the state. What has become a matter of great concern for the locals is the rampant littering of waste by the tourists.
It has been reported that many tourists who have visited Himachal have left behind lots of waste such as food and plastic waste in the sensitive forest areas, highways and remote villages. The Kangra district has been worst affected by the influx of the tourist and littering.
A research team of the IIT Kharagpur has come up with some innovative recommendations in order to manage solid waste, biomedical waste and plastic wastes which has witnessed a sudden growth in their increase since the COVID outbreak.
It is widely known that reduced economic activities have made air and water cleaner as per many reports, change in the dynamics of plastic, food, and biomedical waste generation has however stirred the woes of solid waste management experts. The recommendations include the adoption of eco-friendly bioplastics and biodegradable materials with higher recyclability, emphasis on sustainable technologies and development of green business models by analyzing economic prospects in the post-pandemic world.
The study further suggests the use of artificial intelligence-powered sustainable technologies to manage efficient sorting and recycling of the waste with an emphasis on refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle principle.
As per the latest report by Central Pollution Control Board, the water quality of 5 major rivers that includes, Ganga, Beas, Chambal, Sutlej and Swarnarekha have deteriorated during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. It is being said, these deterioration has been caused due to factors like the release of sewage and no freshwater discharge from the upstream. On the other side, according to an assessment of the impact of lockdown on water quality report by CPCB, 7 of 19 rivers monitored by different state boards have improved during the lockdown. Water samples collected from the 19 rivers were analyzed for parameters like pH, Dissolved Oxygen (DO), Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Faecal Coliform (FC). The results were then compared with the Primary Water Quality Criteria for Outdoor Bathing notified under the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986. Twenty State Pollution Control Boards participated in the assessment.
(By: Gautam Kumar)