Travelling is a beautiful thing. It helps us to learn about the world, try new experiences, taste different kinds of food. But, unfortunately, if people don’t travel sustainably, tourism can have many negative effects. The sudden ramp of tourist flow in Gilgit Baltistan effects the region in many ways.
Tourism has the power to uplift communities and countries from poverty, but at the same time, it can destroy them and their identity. The choices of the tourists can help to preserve nature and wildlife, and on the contrary, it can put them into suffering and extinction.
Effects of Tourism on Ecosystem of Gilgit Baltistan
New areas of land need to be cleared for new hotels and roads. Animals lose their natural habitat and have to find and move to a new one. Some animals often get into a conflict with people when protecting their territory or looking for food. Unfortunately, most of the times they are the ines who suffer loss.
Waste disposal problem is a significant contributor to the degradation of the area. If untreated sewage water is dumped into the lakes and rivers, it negatively affects marine life by the toxins that the waste releases over time.
The more the tourists the more need of hotels and vehicles. The rise the need of hotels the more the deforestation. The more the deforestation the greater the chances of animal species becoming endangered or even extinct. This may disturb the ecological balance of the Gilgit Baltistan region.
Loss of culture and local foods
Often when the tourists visit the local people start copying their lifestyle and try to be like them in every manner. They dress up like them, they talk and behave like them. Although it might not seem to make a difference but it may result in the loss of their native customs and traditions (which is one of the reasons why people visit those areas).
To satisfy the needs of the tourists the locals often need to change their traditional style of life. Shops are supplied with products for tourists, hotels are designed and built in a “western” style. And local people have no choice but to adapt.
Before it was a small village where people used to go to bed with the sunset. Now it’s a town bustling with nightlife.
Most of the tourists just visit the places for their beautiful sceneries and nature. (It’s obvious that when you visit a place you can’t live without eating). The tourists don’t like to eat the traditional foods and cuisines so the demand for “western” food increases. That’s the reason why the KFC’S, McDonald’s, and other food chains growing in Gilgit Baltistan. In order to satisfy the tourists, the locals have to adapt to them too. This might cause the loss of traditional cuisines and dishes.
Increasing Pollution in Gilgit Baltistan
The more people are in one place, the more waste produced. It may be plastic waste, such as water bottles, takeaway containers, etc. These all if not dumped correctly may result in pollution and global warming again disturbing the life of locals. This is the reason that Gilgit Baltistan is amongst the most effected zone of climate change.
Same happens with sound pollution. With more tourists comes increase in population and with population comes the noise from the people and the vehicles. Sound pollution creates an adverse environment for the animals that live in that area, again pushing them away from their original habitat.
We should not forget about sewage as well. The cleaning systems have to process a much bigger amount of sewage waters. An increasing number of people constantly adds pressure. And unfortunately, some places don’t have any cleaning systems in place, and the sewage waters go into the lakes and rivers of Gilgit Baltistan untreated. This results in Water Pollution and endangers the marine life. The fishing market of Gilgit and Baltistan region will be on a downfall in near future if the scenario remains same.
Now the third is Air pollution. It might seem like no air pollution is caused but the increased population also causes increase in Air Pollution. Smokes from cigarettes, coals, fires, and lastly vehicles cause excessive air pollution.
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