In Southeast Asia, tourists are harming the environment

Maya Bay in Thailand, Boracay Island in the Philippines, and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam share something in common—a glut of tourists causing environmental damage.

An April 18, 2019 article in YaleEnvironment360 explained how popular destinations in Southeast Asia are facing a range of problems, such as damaged coral reefs, sewage-filled waters, and beaches strewn with trash. Some countries are now closing tourist spots to give damaged areas time to heal.

The number of tourists visiting Southeast Asia is “eye-popping,” said Megan Epler Wood, director of the International Sustainable Tourism Initiative at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The economies of Southeast Asia are heavily dependent on tourism, according to the article. But Epler-Wood said that the social and environmental impacts of tourism are often not accounted for when countries consider economic impacts. “There’s a cost as each tourist comes into a country,” she said. “It’s not equally distributed throughout the economy, and where it fails is in the protection of the environment.”

Read the YaleEnvironment360 article: The Toll of Tourism: Can Southeast Asia Save Its Prized Natural Areas?