Tripin 2019 - page 112

Almost a decade after the end of
the civil war, Sri Lanka has been
named as the top country for
travel in 2019 by Lonely Planet.
According to the Sri Lanka Tourism
Development Authority tourist
arrivals to the island have increased
dramatically since the end of the
conflict, from 447,890 in 2009 to
nearly 2.1 million arrivals last year.
However, the question looms; is Sri
Lanka ready for the coming year?
With improved access to parts
of the island via railways and
road networks and plenty of
accommodation and food
boutiques to meet the needs of
travelers, on the surface Sri Lanka
seems well equipped to deal with
the influx. Yet in an environmental
sense Sri Lanka is lagging far
behind. With no proper waste
collection network set up around
the island to deal with the growing
number of visitors to the country,
things could get ugly very soon.
As a traveler moving through
the island, one needs to be
environmentally conscious and
pay careful attention not to
contribute further to the problem.
The use and disposal of plastics,
especially the single-use kind, has
penetrated most aspects of human
life, becoming one of the biggest
challenges facing the environment
today. Having seamless waste
disposal and recycling networks
may be second nature to many
first world travelers, yet it is critical
to think of the local context and
understand how best to navigate
traveling Sri Lanka sustainably.
It’s hot and humid almost all
year round so staying hydrated
is essential when travelling the
country. Carry your own reusable
water bottle to avoid repeatedly
buying plastic bottles. Sadly, due to
a lack of consciousness it is quite
normal to leave a local supermarket
Words by Vinod Malwatte
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