Environmental impact of the ugly face of tourism

Pollution and management perspectives

Authored by: Solmaz L. Azarmi , Roozbeh Vaziri , Ayman Kole , Akeem A. Oladipo , Ahmet Bülend Göksel

The Routledge Handbook of Tourism Impacts

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  April  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138494961
eBook ISBN: 9781351025102
Adobe ISBN:


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Tourism has been acknowledged as one of the fastest growing industries in the world. However, recently tourism activities have been noted as a double-edged sword, in that they not only create positive impacts but also cause negative impacts on the physical environment (i.e., land pollution, ecosystem degradation, air and water pollution), if not well developed and managed. Increasing concerns about the negative impacts of tourism have led various researchers to estimate and model the role of the different tourism sectors that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and various aspects of climate change. Specifically, tourism now accounts for more than 69% of air travel, and one study estimates that a single transatlantic return flight emits almost half the CO2 emissions produced by all other resources consumed by an average person annually. Also, studies have shown that tourism and leisure activities are key factors contributing to increased loads of solid wastes around and on beaches in summer months. This chapter introduces the various types of environmental pollution generated by tourism activities, with a special focus directed towards physical impacts from tourist activities, solid waste generation, and air and water pollution. Also, the causal relationship between climate change indicators, natural resource depletion and tourism activities is discussed. The chapter outlines the key sources of solid waste and water pollution from various tourism sectors and highlights their direct impact on the environment. The chapter further identifies various traditional approaches to mitigate pollution generated by tourism activities. It concludes with an overview of the emerging sustainable management approaches to retrieve, recycle and reuse valuable materials from the solid waste and wastewater generated by tourism activities. This chapter intends to elucidate pollution as an emerging threat to tourism development. The pollution management and mitigation approaches discussed herein are expected to drive the development of sustainable tourism.

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