We are familiar with the concept of ‘Swatch Bharata’ or otherwise, clean India. Indians is a prodigious land and it is the duty of every citizen to keep it cleans not for enhancing its beauty but also to preserve the legacy of many great personalities who fought to get our land back. In India, the famous and popular state, which had elongated its fame cutting the boundaries of many countries, Kerala the real Gods own country is the epitome of culture and tradition. To maintain up the purity of this God-given land, a great effort must be followed every day. We know the condition of cleanliness in Kerala but neglecting all these, more inflow of tourists are experienced every year.
Tourism in Kerala alone is reaping more part of the revenue. The reason is that people coming from faraway places do respect the existence of the state and they value the traditions followed here. Even many traits are being exported to foreign countries for practicing. At the same time, we are here making our state untidy by erupting pollution and violating the rules more than that not even doing our duties daily. It is our responsibility to clean our state for welcoming guests same as we do in our own houses. With this concept, the responsible tourism has taken its form. The sole pride of Kerala tourism, Kerala backwaters is what which more needs care as, to witness its eminence lakhs of tourists are arriving yearly. They are really fond of booking any Kerala backwater packages to experience the charm of being inside a houseboat. At this point, it is our duty to maintain the cleanliness at these spots. This doesn’t mean that we must go to the destination and clean the garbage but at least, we can help ourselves to not make it untidy while we travel on these houseboats or during sightseeing.
We often see in the advertisements that the Kerala backwaters are addressed as the fascinating Water world in the earth. What actually happens is that the public markets are masking the plastic rust and bio-waste in the area. Is that sound really pride for us? Definitely not, and we must conceive the fact that Kerala is our land. As the first step of responsible tourism initiative, the effort was to make the Vembanad Lake purged of garbage. Vembanad Lake is the artery through which the backwater tour progresses. Houseboats are the major medium of water transport on which tourists enjoy the panorama of the adorable water world. Since the geography of some destinations is such that the water levels of a backwater, as well as the village, are same, we can enjoy sitting inside the houseboat itself and to get a view of rural lives. These houseboats are fitted with all luxuries and comfort, perfect for a stay. Thus the increased demand for Kerala Houseboat package is experienced day by day. Since more inflow of tourists is experienced at these locations, Government has focused the introduction of responsible tourism at these places. By doing so it is mobilizing the support of each and every individual linked with the tourism. There was interaction will all stakeholders and sought their support.
In an effort to create more employment for many locals involved in tourism directly or indirectly, now the concept of responsible tourism has expanded its mandate to cover the preservation of ecology and environment too. Since the concept stresses on the organic involvement at the local level, the objective can be achieved well. The coordination committee interacted with houseboat, motorboat and Shikara boat owners to lessen their pollution in water while conducting the tourism. They replied that it is not just them who are involved in degradation of the backwaters but other factors too. Also, their future lies with the health of these adorable wetlands. Thus by the joint effort, a committee named Vembanad Kayal Samyukta Samraksha Samithi was formed headed by a houseboat owner. This venture is focusing on the cleaning of the Vembanad Lake for which 5 lakhs rupees has been allocated. Even many resort owners are contributing towards it. Also, besides this effort for a cleaning drive, this group has appointed local units to manufacture paper and cloth bags in an effort to replace plastic bags.
The Ashtamudi Lake, which is the gateway of backwater tourism, is also included in the list. We know that most of the tourists prefer houseboat rides and the income from these luxuriously cruising resorts many benefit some but concerning others, especially the rural households living on the banks of the waters. Actually, the poorly regulated houseboat tourism is the main reason that is indirectly affecting the ecosystem, fish species, and water qualities as well. Certain initiatives from the responsible tourism coordination can regulate this and there will be active participation of small local communities like Kudumbhasree, Karshika Samithi and all. Even the tour planners providing exotic Kerala backwater tour packages can help by active checking on the tourists arriving and regulating their activities without making them uncomfortable. Some norms must be followed once you are on a tour especially on preserving the ecosystem there. Kumarakom has successful, completion of responsible tourism concept and it ensured women empowerment, employment opportunities, and exhibition of local handicrafts and active rural tourism. It is with this pace, we all must progress and ensure a clean Kerala backwaters.