Enlightened tourism is the need of the hour to protect geodiversity, says INTACH Visakhapatnam chapter conference

“Heritage sites cannot be destroyed in the name of tourism and tourists must be educated about the geographical heritage, geodiversity and biodiversity”

“Heritage sites cannot be destroyed in the name of tourism and tourists must be educated about the geographical heritage, geodiversity and biodiversity”

The place where we live, the places we visit and the food we eat is rooted in biodiversity in some form or another. But we rarely think or look at the past to understand its connection with geodiversity, said D. Rajasekhara Reddy, INTACH convenor, Vizag chapter.

Talking to you The Hinduhe said considering that USESCO has decided to celebrate October 6, as the International Biodiversity Day, and this year will be the first year to celebrate the day, globally.

As a geologist and former professor from the Department of Geology, Andhra University, he said, geodiversity is everywhere. “If we consider the stretch of beach from RK beach to Bheemunipatnam, we can classify the stretch into four segments that have potential geodiversity features,” he said.

In Bheemunipatnam, we have the Gosthani river which joins the sea and can be termed as an Estuarine beach, which has its specific geophysical features. The surface features of Bheemunipatnam Beach are different from Thotlakonda Beach, which has been designated as a Rocky Beach. Thotlakonda Beach has many undulating features, such as the natural rock-cut bridge. Tenneti Park Beach is an old wave platform as the beach may have sunk millions of years ago from the adjacent mountain level and RK Beach is a sandy beach, he said.

According to him, many are not aware of these features and their importance. He also pointed out that creating a park in Tenneti Park or cutting mountains to build structures, without understanding the importance of geographical heritage, is a wrong way to do something in the name of development.

“We must learn to strike a balance between development and conservation, as geodiversity is directly linked to biodiversity and the relevant authorities must understand that ‘the present is the key to the past’.” If we can understand the past, it is a window into the future,” he said.

The geologist also said that tourism cannot be developed at the cost of destroying biodiversity. The Eastern Ghats are 1,600 million years old. The Borra Caves are about 1,300 million years old, and the volcanic ash deposit in the Araku Valley is at least 74,000 years old, which had traveled all the way from Toba Island in Indonesia. These sites cannot be destroyed in the name of tourism and that is why UNESCO promotes ‘enlightened tourism’ as each place is unique in its own way. The idea is that tourists should be educated about geo-heritage, geo-diversity and biodiversity, he said.

Speaking about INTACH, he said the trust has over 4,000 schools as members and some run heritage clubs. INTACH also has 227 chapters across the country and schools under Heritage Education and Community Service. INTACH Heritage Academy also offers certificate and diploma courses.

Exhibition

As part of Geodiversity Day, INTACH and Andhra University are organizing an exhibition at the Geology Department showcasing ancient rocks, fossils and geodiversity features on Saturday. On October 2, a clean-up program will be organized at Erramatti Dibbalu and a geo-heritage walk at the same site in collaboration with the Eastern Naval Command. On October 1, geologist Dhananjay M. Mohabe will conduct a Zoom session on ‘History of Indian Dinosaurs’. Details can be obtained from the geodiversityday.org website

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