GO GREEN WHEN YOU SEE THE WORLD
It’s Earth Day today. Bloggers share tips on making travel eco-friendly
April 22 is celebrated globally as Earth Day, a movement that started in the US in 1970. For those of us who love to travel, there’s an even greater responsibility to protect the planet — after all, we travel to see the world.
Green travel goes by many names: sustainable tourism, responsible tourism, ecotourism. What it means is that travellers leave as small a carbon footprint as possible in the places through which they pass. We all can achieve this.
Travel bloggers share tips that are easy to follow, and good for the conscience, too.
CUT PLASTIC USAGE
“Carry re-usable water bottles, not the plastic ones. Discarded plastic leads to environmental hazards, and harms stray animals,” says Sahil Bhasin, co-founder of a travel group. Ditch plastic bags as well, and use paper and cloth bags that have a longer shelf life and are biodegradable. “Carry a cloth bag / oversized tote while shopping at holiday destinations to avoid plastic bags that may be used to carry the product,” says Aurvind Lama, founder of a travel company.
Leave something behind to aid the local communities. “Support locals in some way, e.g. by initiating water refilling systems to eliminate their dependence on plastic,” says travel blogger Rutavi Mehta.
KEEP IT CLEAN
”Don’t litter or leave waste behind. Carry a garbage bag with you at all times and dispose of it at the closest bin,” adds Bhasin. This is a good practice even when living at home. As far as possible, segregate dry waste (glass, clean paper or plastic, cans) and wet waste (food scraps). Do not, under any circumstances, toss used personal hygiene products here and there; be meticulous in how you dispose of them.
AVOID RENTING A CAR
Instead of driving a hired car when visiting a city or the countryside, walk or use public transport or just cycle. “This helps reduce carbon emission and you can see hidden beaches and spots when you bicycle or walk around the destination,” adds Mehta. But keep off prohibited territories so that you do not harm the flora and fauna. “If you are hiking or trekking through nature trails, stay on marked trails so that you don’t disturb plants and small animals,” says Kartik Bakshi, from a travel marketplace.
DON’T FAN THE FLAMES
Backpacking trips often end with a warm woodfire, around which friends gather. Be cautious of the embers. “When camping out, make sure you put out the fire completely before leaving; even a small flame can lead to forest fires,” says Bhasin.
SHUN BAD SOUVENIRS
Souvenirs are fun, but be cautious not to buy products for which animals might have been harmed. “Make sure you do not buy things made from parts of endangered species, including animal hide, ivory, turtle shells or corals,” says Bakshi.
BUY LOCAL HANDICRAFTS
“Buying local handicrafts helps in preserving a community’s culture for a longer period. Very often, it gives the local women an additional source of income,” says Mehta.
LIVE IN HOMESTAYS
Homestays offer a great way to learn about local culture. “Choose a place that uses green technologies, e.g. power-saving appliances. Also, don’t leave fans, lights, air-conditioners on when you go out,” says Bhasin. “Ask your host if towels and bedsheets can be reused instead of being replaced daily,” adds Bakshi.