Worried over pollution of most sought-after tourist destinations in the state, the Department of Tourism is going to launch a new campaign - ‘Kerala Waste-Free Destination (KWFD)’.
“The campaign will be officially launched next month at three major tourist destinations, namely Kovalam, Kumarakom and Munnar. It’s being organised with the active participation of local bodies, NGOs and self help groups and Suchitwa Mission. A task force for effective campaigning of the KWFD will be constituted,” Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar said. The campaign will also benefit the local residents of Kovalam as the Tourism Department is going spend `16 crore for a drinking water project. “It’s the first time the Tourism Department is spending money for a drinking water project. Besides, the department will provide assistance for residents and restaurant owners for setting up waste treatment plants. Though implemented in association with various agencies, none of them will have any financial liability,” the minister said.
He said that accumulation of urban garbage was of serious concern not merely from the point of view of tourism but also as a public health issue. “The Tourism Department will coordinate with local-self governments, wherever necessary, assisting in managing waste and keeping major tourist destinations clean,” Anil Kumar said. In the Tourism policy released last month, the government had stated that it would support environment-friendly initiatives such as production of paper bags and converting plastic and other wastes into resources.
“The department has taken a decision to ban disposable plastics at Kovalam, Ponmudi, Varkala, Alappuzha backwaters, Fort Kochi, Eravikulam, Thekkady, Pookot Lake, Soochipara, Kuruva and Bekal in the first phase in association with tourism industry,” Anil Kumar added.