Good job bringing this to light. People won't realise how huge the problem is and municipalities are woefully ill equipped to...
Agreed; mining can never be sustainable, but then how do you get the metals to make all the things you need in the course of...
Very good piece.
TRASH-STREWN beaches, tribes reduced to selling cheap trinkets
and tourists on the prowl for prostitutes, have forced many in
the travel industry to promote a healthier 'eco-tourism' in
both Thailand and Vietnam before it is too late.
A small organisation called Alternative Tourism of
Thailand now conducts tours for foreigners from NGOS who
come to this Southeast Asian nation to see what can be done to
help the people, rather than simply viewing the gorgeous temples and going for other attractions.
Improving tourism in Thailand is not only an ethical matter. It is also good for the economy because a glut of new hotels
have opened their doors only to find a drop in the number of
tourists visiting Thailand. The four million or so tourists who
arrive each year spend us $3 billion or more, making tourism
the largest ever source of foreign exchange in the country.
But lately, many tourists have been skipping Thailand
because of its escalating AIDS epidemic, its fraying reputation
as a commercialised tourist trap, and a worldwide recession
which has been keeping travelers closer to home.
Pattaya beach, for example, has blossomed from the '60s
when it provided us soldiers with 'rest and recreation' among
prostitutes and water sports during the Vietnam war, until
its present-day fame as the largest and naughtiest beach
resort in Asia.
Pattaya's 30,000 hotel rooms, 100 miles southeast of
Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand, are suffering low occupancy.
Environmentalists, meanwhile, rail against hotel sewers which
dump waste into the coastal waters. As a result, many of the
big hotels had their own water treatment units built. The Thai
Hotels Association now gives 'Green Lxaves' to Pattaya's ecologically correct hotels as recognition.
Tourists visiting Thailand's coastal resorts, however, often
witness garbage being dumped from their boats into waters
frequented by scuba divers. And if a reef att6cts vacationers,
the boatpeople simply toss their anchors over the side, permanently damaging long stretches of fragile reef below.
Thailand's most famous beach resorts like Pattaya,
Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi and the Similan Islands, all
suffer from severe pollution and degradation, thanks to the
tourism industry, according to environmentalists.
The Coastal Resources Management Project jointly run by
Thailand's National Environment Board and the University of
Rhode Island in the US is now trying to help save the nation's
coasts and raise awareness about eco-tourism.
Financed by the
Agency for International Development, us, the project is trying to convince boat operators to avoid damaging the coral
and to stop dumping garbage at sea - especially plastic bags
and oily bilge water - which is especially deadly to coral.
Special mooring buoys have been placed strategically so
that boatpeople do not anchor whenever they stop. The group
also warns souvenir shops about the law banning collection of
living coral, although Halong bay fisherfolk lurk among the
rocks in the islands with an array of tourist souvenirs laid out
along the sand, waiting for boats to dock, so that visitors can
buy baubles while exploring caves and cliffs.
A similar warning comes from the CHUMA Primate Rescue
Center's founder, Margaret Himathongkom, who said, "As an
act of protest against the cruelty and torture that befall these
poor creatures, boycott any establishment that serves wildlife
cuisine, or that keeps captured wild animals as tourist and
amusement attraction - and yes, I am referring to hotels as
well - in cramped, filthy conditions with inadequate dietary
requirements and without fresh clean drinking water available
at all times."
Leome Vejjajiva of the Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of
Thailand, while agreeing upon this point, said, "Elephants are
treated badly everywhere in Thailand. Elephant keepers stick
needles and spikes into the elephants'legs to make them dance
for tourists. There is an animal farm for tourists near
Bangkok's Floating Market which is a revolting place. They
say, they get 2,000 tourists a day there. They milk snake venom
in front of tourists so many times a day, that the snakes'
Vejjajiva said that the government is'trying'to crack down
on abusers by staging police raids. But often, culprits already
decamp before authorities arrive. Eco-tourism advocates in
Thailand have yet to fight another enemy - hundreds of
exclusive golf courses carved out from rice fields, coastal areas
and other idyllic settings which are draining the community of
valuable water resource.