We know long ago that tourism has an impact on the environment. Unfortunately, although our awareness of ecology is growing, many people still do not know how to behave in nature. The situation is particularly disturbing in Masuria. What mistakes they made was revealed to “Wprost” by a representative of the HumanDoc foundation.
Each of us would like to live in a beautiful and well-kept world. When we plan a holiday trip, we want to go to a clean, quiet and attractive place. Regardless of whether we focus on mountains, lakes or the sea, we always have an impact on the environment and leave our mark on it. While we know some things very well, we are often unaware of others. We make many mistakes unconsciously, which translates into serious changes in nature.
Growing tourism is not a bad thing. Many foundations that care about its well-being want to promote our regions and encourage people to visit them. In all this, however, it is worth remembering to expand knowledge about the effects of our actions and change habits for the better. What are we doing wrong? This was given to me by Izabela Żbikowska from the HumanDoc foundation.
Tourism affects the environment. This is especially visible in Masuria
The diagnosis made by the HumanDoc foundation shows that the pressure of growing tourism leads to the destruction of ecosystems through noise that scares animals, environmental pollution – degradation of flora and fauna, disturbance of trophic relations in lake waters, impoverishment and deterioration of the quality of natural resources. The whole is the result of low ecological awareness of residents and tourists.
All this was studied as part of the work on the Eco-application for the Land of the Great Masurian Lakes. It is there that the situation looks particularly disturbing. A report on this subject was prepared as part of the “7 Wonders of Mazury” project, it shows that tourists damage the environment by littering (93%), washing dishes in lakes (36%), making noise (25%) and bathing with chemicals ( 23%). The damage caused by the lack of ecological awareness can be mitigated through education based on modern technologies.
As part of the tourism economy, the environment is affected by changes in the landscape resulting from the construction of hotels and guesthouses, degradation of environmentally valuable areas and forest areas, destruction of biodiversity, pollution of lakes and rivers, increased waste production, disturbance of animals and water habitats caused by noise and such forms of recreation such as sailing or kayaking.
Pissing in the water, washing dishes in the lake, stepping on. It’s the sins of tourists
Representative of the foundation dealing with, among others, In an interview with “Wprost” she revealed what we are doing wrong or what we are not aware of. Importantly, she revealed the changes that tourism contributes to. “Tourists are destroying the environment. These are not often intentional procedures and do not always have to be. These are usually everyday activities such as noise, trampling paths, leaving garbage, throwing cigarette butts into the water, washing dishes in lakes and pissing in them. The latter affect the structure and chemical composition of water, especially when we use detergents when washing dishes or bathing, the interviewee revealed. – Where there is a man and there are too many of us, there is a huge pressure on the environment. Someone might think that it’s best to discourage people and tell them, for example, not to come to Masuria, and that’s not the point, because we should explore these areas, but we have to do it wisely, she added.
Another important issue turns out to be sailing, which is popular in Masuria, camping, practicing motorboat sports, and even cycling. It turns out that although none of these activities is bad in themselves, they are performed by a lot of people in the vicinity of Masuria. Each of them can potentially perform activities that are harmful to the environment, and when they are combined, a significant threat to nature is created. For example, it is enough for one in 10 sailors to throw cigarette butts into the lake, and there are about 50,000 sailors in Masuria in the season, and each of them spends there on average 5 to 7 days. Assuming that every person throws two cigarette butts into the lake a day, it can give up to 600,000 cigarette butts a year, and each of them takes 5 years to decompose.
– If a place is popular and there are many people, then, of course, small behaviors, such as the fact that someone plays their music on the beach or a walk in the forest, and others copy these behaviors, gives us the effect of undesirable multiplication. I believe that society knows more and more, but still not enough and sometimes not demanding enough from itself, and simple steps are enough – more mindfulness, concentration, noble detergents, garbage and greater respect for nature – betrayed Iza.
As can be seen, the attractiveness of the Masurian region is a source of many conflicts of interest, including the one related to the desire to preserve the natural potential and the simultaneous desire to intensively use the tourist space.
This is how you fight to improve the situation in Masuria
It is the Land of the Great Masurian Lakes that is in particular danger today and needs the support of tourists. They are constantly encouraged to visit these areas, e.g. new attractive bicycle paths. That means there will still be plenty of us there.
For years, activities have been carried out to secure and protect the area. It is introduced, e.g. acceleration of activities in the field of waste segregation, implementation of air protection systems and, above all, raising social awareness. As part of the latter, special software related to the Great Masurian Lake District has recently been created.
Izabela Żbikowska from the foundation said that now every tourist has the opportunity to use a free local guide in the application with the voice of Krystyna Czubówna in the background. Thanks to him, the situation is supposed to improve for the better. – Creating an eco-application is one of the activities that can support nature. Promoting positive attitudes can bring a lasting effect and translate into improved protection of ecosystems throughout Poland, she emphasized.
As you can see, how the fate of this beautiful corner of Masuria will go on may depend on each of us. While staying at the famous Polish lakes, it is worth remembering about the basic rules and trying to ensure that our travels have the least negative impact on the surrounding nature.