Tourism is a threat in this region because it has affected the area’s environment negatively.
For example, in Manali (a small town in the Himalayas), the town dump has been over-capacity due to the waste tourists produce. The contents of the dump (waste) ends up in the Beas River, a river right below the dump, after a yearly flash flood.
Tourism also increases fossil fuel emissions (due to transportation to get there) in the Himalayas. Glaciers are rapidly melting in the region, and snow lines are higher every year.
Mountaineering can also affect the Himalayan environment. Often oxygen tanks and other gear get left on the climbs and around base camp. Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air” talks some about the environmental impact that has been caused by more people climbing Everest and the other mountains.
There has recently been a drastic increase in tourism – the sheer number of people traveling to the Himalayas is a problem. The number of visitors jumped from 80,000 in 1980 to 1.8 million in 1993. Increased tourism has lead to natural environments being replaced by roads and campsites, and wildlife is being pushed into smaller areas and is struggling to find food. In addition the governments are relying on tourism for economic purposes, but tourism isn’t necessarily sustainable.
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