Children learn better when they are exposed to various experiences. And experiences can be given to children through tourism. It is needless to mention the benefits of tourism for the betterment and mental growth of children. I along with my husband often take our children to different places so that they can learn new things every now and then. Since three of my children are under five, we more often try to take them to ‘kids-friendly’ places.
A few days ago, we went to Sadhinata Complex located near Bahaddarhat bus stand in Chattagram. This is also known as ‘Mini Bangladesh’ as it beautifully exhibits all the historically-important monuments inside a single park. The environment deserves to be kids-friendly so that children are fascinated to see the monuments and know the history of the country better.Anyway, with a great expectation, we went to Sadhinata Complex. As price of ticket, the complex authorities took Tk 150 for each person. Although it is costlier than the price of ticket of any other children's park, still I felt quite okay with it. Sometimes we need to ensure better environment for which we have to pay more. We went there in the morning just after 10:00 am. As we entered, we first saw the replica of our parliament. I was so amazed to see it. Even my children jumped out of joy and ran into the building. But I was not at all ready to see something that I saw. It was indeed a public nuisance as the complex walls were scribbled by writing various names on them. As to why, the beauty of the attractive spot was spoiled to a great extent.
As we moved on and saw more monuments, we were shocked to see more unwanted things. We saw many boys and girls sitting together closely here and there in an indecent manner. We saw love birds everywhere at Supreme Court, Curzon Hall and Ahsan Manjil who were engaged in making love. I felt a bit disappointed observing the indecent sights.
At one stage, I bought train tickets. The train journey was beautiful as long as it ran under the bright light of the sun. As soon as the train entered a dark channel, I was astonished to find the narrow mentality of the polluters. Light is their enemy. They are afraid of light and fond of darkness. As to why, they threw their used bottles, packets and other materials in the dark channel. The entire environment was supposed to be wonderful, because it is indeed a beautiful place. But polluters have just spoilt the beauty of the site by throwing plastic bottles and all other empty belongings that they carried with them.
However, this is not only the scenario of Sadhinata Complex. I witnessed the same experience at every historical spot that I visited earlier. The creators of public nuisance have even spoilt the hole of Bhasu Bihar and Mahasthan Garh. Can you imagine the intensity of their love. They wrote like "X+Y" on the walls of these monuments? What pleasure do they get by contaminating the sources of water and polluting the soil of these beautiful places? In the long run, tourism is losing sustainability. If we want to practice sustainable tourism, we must have to prevent these acts taking prompt action against the polluters.
There are many effective ways to prevent such acts. People need to get educated more. Frequent visits from one place to other one do not make one a good tourist. Tourism requires minimum education and civic sense. Without these, one cannot become a tourist. It is a tourist's responsibility to act responsibly by protecting natural resources and environment. The authority should play its due role. I believe the relevant authority would take strict measures so that the rules and regulations are followed strictly.
As for example, in each and every monument, there are a few written instructions to make people cautious. Tourists are asked to act decently. They are asked not to write anything on the walls. They are told not to drop anything inside the lake water. But when tourists disobey instructions of the authority and violate the rules and regulations, the authority hardly takes any action against the rule violators. It is because of their fear of losing tourists. But actually it will not happen, because the places will remain attractive to the tourists who really want sustainable tourism. So, the relevant authority must play a crucial role to prevent indecent behaviour of the polluters who spoil the atmosphere of the tourist spots.All must understand that these spots are supposed to be kept sacred. This is not at all a place for dating or making love. It will keep an adverse effect on our children who witness this kind of activities in open public places. There are certain places and specific for certain acts. If we do not understand it then our future generation will suffer. This is why, tourists must restrict their emotions to a certain limit. Also, some polluters throw their used materials here and there exists big trash bins at the spots. Such irresponsible behaviour is really unacceptable.
Many tourist spots are also good for study tour. Unfortunately, some students act in an irresponsible manner when they go on a study tour. Out of sheer excitement, they mistakenly destroy natural resources and pollute environment. In that case, the teachers who are act as their guides must look into it. Students should be instructed beforehand to act decently. Even on the spot, instructions can be given to them time and again.
We have a tendency to blame others, especially the authority concerned that is responsible for maintenance of the tourist spots. Do they really deserve to be blamed? Are we not supposed to act responsibly too? It is high time to restrain ourselves so that all of us behave in a proper manner. If we do not prevent acts of public nuisance then foreign tourists will curse us and call us a dirty nation. We really do not want that to happen. It is our Bangladesh--beautiful Bangladesh. Now, it is our job is to keep it neat and clean as well as beautiful. It is our collective duty to curb pollution for sustainable tourism.
The writer is Lecturer, Department of English Language and Literature, Premier University Chittagong.