Today there are more and more people wanting to travel and become part-time explorers. Earlier, travel was not easy but now, it’s literally a click away. And that explains why all around the world, the most popular tourist destinations are inundated with too many people. More than the crowds becoming a spoiler, the impact on the environment is monumental.
And directly contributing to that are the hotels. The United Nations World Tourism Organization has estimated that hotels worldwide contribute to about 1 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. Putting that in context, the Accor group has estimated that its environmental impact is “equivalent to that of a city of 5,00,000 inhabitants”
We cannot stop travelling and exploring but at the same time, want to ensure that we contain the damage caused by us in any small way. Hotel owners are doing their bit - doing away with non-recyclable plastic, reusing printer cartridges, adopting renewable energy and reducing portion sizes. They are also phasing out plastic straws and stirrers and replacing them with more eco-friendly options that would only be provided on request. It has also begun to replace mini toiletry bottles with larger, reusable bottles. Taj has its own biogas facility, water-bottling plant, a reservoir for rainwater harvesting and partial solar energy; it has also partnered with the pollution control board to keep the Andaman island plastic-free.
Pepper Trail in Wayanad and Brijrama Palace in Varanasi have removed plastic toothbrushes for those made of eco-friendly materials.
So its good to see that everyone is doing their small bit; in a way we all are undoing all that which we thought was ‘progress’ and now going back to the way of life which our grandparents lived – a more sustainable life in harmony with nature.