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


“Heritage sites must not be destroyed in the name of tourism and tourists should be educated about geoheritage, geodiversity and biodiversity.”

“Heritage sites must not be destroyed in the name of tourism and tourists should be educated about geoheritage, geodiversity and biodiversity.”

The place we live, the places we visit and the food we eat all have their roots in geodiversity in some form. But rarely do we think or look to the past to understand its connection to geodiversity, said D. Rajasekhara Reddy, organizer of INTACH, Vizag Chapter.

Speak with The Hinduhe said noting that USESCO has decided to mark October 6th as International Geodiversity Day and this year will be the first year that we will mark this day globally.

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

At Bheemunipatnam the Gosthani River empties into the sea and can be classified as an estuarine beach which has its specific geophysical features. The surface texture of Bheemunipatnam Beach is different from Thotlakonda Beach which is classified as Rocky Beach. Thotlakonda Beach has many undulating features such as the natural rock bridge. Tenneti Park’s beach is a paleo wave-cut platform, as the beach may have sunk from the adjacent mountainous plain millions of years ago, and RK Beach is a sandy beach, he said.

According to him, many do not know about these characteristics and their importance. He also pointed out that creating a park in Tenneti Park or cutting down mountains to build structures without understanding the importance of geoheritage is a flawed way of doing something in the name of development.

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

The geologist also said tourism cannot be developed at the expense of destroying geodiversity. Eastern Ghats is 1,600 million years old. The Borra Caves are around 1,300 million years old and the Araku Valley volcanic ash deposit is at least 74,000 years old, having traveled all the way from the Indonesian island of Toba. These sites must not 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 geoheritage, geodiversity and biodiversity, he said.

Speaking about INTACH, he said the Trust has over 4,000 schools as members and runs a few heritage clubs. INTACH also has 227 chapters across the country and the schools fall under the Heritage Education and Community Service. The INTACH Heritage Academy also offers certificate and diploma courses.

exhibition

As part of Geodiversity Day, INTACH and Andhra University are hosting an exhibition at the Department of Geology on Saturday, showcasing ancient rocks, fossils and features of geodiversity. On October 2nd, a clean-up program in Erramatti Dibbalu and a Geoheritage Walk at the same place will be organized in cooperation with the Eastern Naval Command. On October 1st, geologist Dhananjay M. Mohabe will host a Zoom meeting on the Story of Indian Dinosaurs. The details can be found on the geodiversityday.org website



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