2017年8月4日 星期五

Closing the doors on paradise





Koh Tachai is a beautiful Thai island. Sandy beaches, blue sea, plenty of sunshine; paradise … and that's why you can't go there! It's part of the Similan National Park, which attracts too
many holidaymakers and divers and this has been causing problems.
According to Tunya Netithammakul, Director General of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation, "we have to close it to allow the rehabilitation of the environment both on the island and in the sea without being disturbed by tourism activities before the damage is beyond repair."
Many beauty spots around the world have paid a high price for their popularity. The Phi Phi Islands, also in Thailand, came under pressure after the movie The Beach, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, was filmed there. The boom in tourism might have been good news for local traders but not for the coral reefs, destroyed by boats' anchors and pollution from motorboats.               
Far away, in Ecuador, the Galapagos Archipelago, a World Heritage Site, is famous for a unique ecosystem that inspired Charles Darwin to write his Theory of Evolution. There's a concern about what can be taken away – it's illegal to buy souvenirs made from animal parts or native wood – but also about the invasive species brought in by visitors. A researcher has warned about the new types of ants arriving all the time travelling in aircraft, boats and even tourists' luggage.
Maybe we humans are the most threatening of all invasive species. We tend to leave rubbish everywhere and build infrastructure in some areas that can't support it. The question we should ask ourselves is: would we agree to give up visiting these paradises for a while in order to allow them to regenerate and preserve them for future generations or as we only live once, should we go wherever we like and enjoy it while it lasts?