The government should focus on sustainable waste management to save St. Martin Island
St. Martin’s Island is undoubtedly one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Bangladesh. An excessive number of tourists gather in St. Martin on holidays during any festive. That became a curse of St. Martin. The island has become a garbage dump.
The tourist spot is under a lot of threat due to the unawareness of the tourists and the benevolent attitude of the authorities.
About one and a half months ago, the primary tourist season ended on the island. However, there are still different types of garbage lying around the island.
Tourists and locals are suffering from the stench of these wastes and the damage to the environment and beauty.
Glasses or plastic bottles, packets, one-time products, polythene, cans, nylon ropes, and other perishable wastes scatter over about one and a half to two kilometers of the beach. Waste is also coming from Hundreds of hotel restaurants and households.
Waste from hotels, motels, and resorts goes directly to the sea. This is happening years after years, as there is no sustainable waste management initiative. As a result, the island is becoming coral-free, losing biodiversity.
In two eras, the number of tourist arrivals in St. Martin has increased from 200 to a few lakhs a year. At the same time, the population has increased from 3 thousand to about 10 thousand. A decade ago, there were 17 hotels, but now that number is more than one and a half-hundred.
The UP (Union Parishad) chairperson of St. Martin claims,
” Some signboards have been put up on the island by the Department of the Environment (DOE), Bangladesh. However, they do nothing for the benefit of tourists and locals.
Despite the campaign of the DOE to dump garbage everywhere, the tourists do not find it. Our tourism and tourism management has not yet become environment friendly.
We think that the DOE should not limit their activities only to campaigning but instead focus on taking necessary actions.
Besides, management must develop to prevent waste from falling into the sea. However, there is no alternative to controlling tourist arrivals to save St. Martin.
However, the existing Shipping associations and business groups will not let this happen. We think that the government needs to play an influential role in resolving the current issue.”