The World Tourism Day is celebrated annually on September 27. Its purpose is to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.
The event seeks to address the global challenges outlined in the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and highlight the tourism sector’s contribution in reaching these goals. In support of United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation, the World Tourism Day (WTD) 2013 is being held under the theme Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future. This year’s theme focuses on tourism’s significant role and contribution to worldwide water conservation efforts and provides an opportunity to further highlight the shared responsibility of the tourism sector to the wider sustainability objectives while creating benefits for local populations around the water tourism sector.
India by virtue of its extensive geographical extent, varied terrain and climatic conditions support and sustain diverse and unique wetland habitats. According to a Space Application Centre (SAC) report, 7.58 million hectare wetlands are in India which includes 3.56 million ha of freshwater wetlands. Odisha has 16277.5 ha of inland wetland and 185431.75 ha of coastal wetland. The rapidly growing human populations, large-scale changes in land use/land cover and the improper use of watersheds have caused a substantial decline in wetland resources of the country.
The geographical diversity of India makes it home to a wealth of ecosystems which are well-protected and preserved. These ecosystems have become the major resources for ecotourism. Ecotourism is sustainable tourism, which is based on the ecological principle and sustainable development theory. Ecotourism involves local community for conservation of the areas’ ecology; and biodiversity, in its return, provides economic incentives to the community.
 The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC ) has recently notified India as one of the fastest-growing tourism economies in the world. In May 2002, the Department of Tourism, Government of India, formulated a new National Tourism Policy emphasising on development and promotion of Indian tourism to harness its economic benefits to a large segment of its population.
Odisha with its bounties of nature and scenic natural beauty has immense potential to occupy a place of pride in the ecotourism map of the country. Ecotourism offers an opportunity to showcase the State’s unique natural heritage to visitors while enhancing the livelihood options for the local people. The State is rich with important water resources. The very famous natural heritage site Ansupa lake in Cuttack district holds a prominent position in the tourist map of Odisha for its picturesque landscape. The lake is the largest and very old freshwater lake. The water spread area is around 2.12 sqkm. The length of the lake is around 3 km and its average width is around 1.3 km. The lake is directly linked with river Mahanadi by a channel, Kabula Nala, through which floodwater of the Mahanadi enters the lake. The main attraction of the lake is its natural beauty. Besides, more than 30,000 people living in the peripheral villages depend very much on the lake resources, mainly fishery, for their livelihoods.
Ansupa is of national importance due to its unique biodiversity character having varied aquatic fauna and flora and is a famous natural heritage. It is bounded by the Saranda hills on the western side and the Bishnupur hills on its northern side. The lake has assumed international importance as it is home to several species of migratory birds from far-off Siberia, Europe, etc, in winter as well as domiciled birds.
 The very old Saranda Fort, built during the Keshari dynasty, is situated near the lake. Now, the Saranda hill has turned bald due to tree felling. The lake is fast buried with soil erosion form the hill. For income-generating activities, i.e., cultivation and fishery, the people depend upon the lake resources. Due to environmental degradations like siltation, both fisherman and cultivators are facing a lot of problems. There is also no proper irrigation system like canals, for which the people find difficulty in cultivation. The lake is degrading very fast threatening the ecosystem, as a result of which the fishery and tourism potentials are adversely affected.
The Ansupa lake is declared a Community Reserve according to an amendment made in the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) in 2003. Realising the importance of tourism potential and conservation of the lake, the State Government has been working towards an integrated economic, social, and conservation development plan for the lake over the past decade.
 The Government has initiated an integrated Sustainable Environmental Management Programme like catchment area treatment, including soil conservation measures with plantations to arrest siltation and eutrophication, weed management activities and constant environmental monitoring to assess the progress of the work.
As per the Draft Guidelines published by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2011, the State Governments are to develop a State-level ecotourism strategy. The Odisha Ecotourism Development Board is proposed to be the apex body in the State engaged in promotion of ecotourism and development of requisite systems and standards for the same. The tourism industry, besides generating more employment opportunities provides incentives to foster the quality of environment.  The travel and tourism sector contributes to the national integration, preserves natural and cultural environments as well as enriches social and cultural lives of people.
The Odisha Government in its tourism policy has prioritised development of ecotourism to attract Indian and foreign tourists. In 2009-10, a new scheme was introduced for ecotourism development in the Ansupa lake. The Departments of Tourism in the States are responsible for implementation of the tourism projects funded by the Union Ministry of Tourism and the projects identified by them under their respective State tourism policies.
Ansupa should be conserved in an integrated manner which should be implemented with community mobilisation and participation for sustainability so that the lake would not only attract both national and international tourists but be conserved well for the posterity. For this, harmony between development of tourism destination and environment improvement in cities is extremely essential.
There is a need to prepare a Tourism Perspective Plan for development of basic infrastructure and creation of tourism circuits. The plan should focus on sustainable tourism development which is environment-friendly and tourist-friendly. An environment planning approach is essential for sustainable development of tourism. This implies that all the aspects of environment should be carefully studied and analysed while proposing development at sensitive tourist destinations. Thus, it calls for a separate cell whereby all monitoring activities related to the environment can be carried out.
For ecotourism planning and sustainable community development, there is a need to increase ecotourism awareness, capacity building for ecotourism for the local community and community participation for development of ecotourism in our State. Besides, a proper implementation of a Tourism Perspective Plan is necessary for development of ecotourism of Ansupa. This is possible only when people actively participate in the actual implementation of the plan.





Dr. Mayarani Praharaj, College of Engineering and Technology, Bhubaneswar, India
The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established in December 1992, tasked with ensuring effective follow-up to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Since 1993, the CSD has convened annual multilateral discussions on a vast array of issues that intersect the three interdependent “pillars” of sustainable development – the social, economic and environmental.
With renewed interest generated by the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and the 2015 deadline looming for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the international community is gearing up to agreeing a new global agenda which better addresses all three dimensions of sustainable development.

Nevertheless, there are still over two years to go before the existing framework expires, therefore governments and stakeholders alike must remain focused on achieving the MDGs. In this regard, under MDG 7 (ensure environmental sustainability), there is a target to ‘Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources.’ One area that should be included under this is the protection of the ozone layer.
From the early 1970s, scientists were aware of the possibility that human actions could deplete the ozone layer, leading to damaging impacts on humans and the biosphere. The CFCs used as refrigerants, insulators and cleaning agents were identified as some of the most destructive agents, and the international community reacted promptly to this scientific evidence, leading to the 1987 adoption of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The Montreal Protocol has a clear and detailed compliance regime under which each party is required to report to the Ozone Secretariat its annual production and consumption of ODS. This data is used to measure ODS reductions against baseline data and therefore assess whether countries are meeting their phase-out obligations, and also contribute to the determination of “developing country” status.
The CSD has to date played an important role in the implementation of sustainable development at the national level, including regarding measures to protect the ozone layer. The UN Secretary-General’s report on Protection of the Atmosphere for CSD4 in 1996, for example, noted that the substantive prescriptions of the 1987 Montreal Protocol make it a landmark for international cooperation which embodies many of the core principles of Agenda 21. The report identified the Protocol as a good example of the precautionary principle in action, noted the marked decrease in overall production and consumption of ozone depleting substances (ODSs), but also drew attention to the issue of illegal trade in chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and the continued increase in CFC consumption in some countries.
The CSD also played a key role in the development of evidence-based indicators to track progress and support decision-making on the issue. An Intergovernmental Working Group on the Advancement of Environmental Statistics prepared a paper on Environmental Indicators for CSD in 1995. At the same CSD session, the creation of a menu of Agenda 21 indicators was proposed, also including the “consumption of ODS”, along with the development of methodology sheets which could then be used voluntarily by Member States.
India – Party to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer – is one of the countries that has felt the benefit of this work. India’s Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules, brought in in 2000, provide a comprehensive set of regulations to control and monitor production and use of ODS in the country. India’s Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has over the years been executing a nation-wide initiative known as National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP). Annual average concentrations of sulfur oxide (SOx) levels today are within the prescribed National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in almost all domestic territories. This reduction from earlier levels is due to various measures taken, including for example, the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) in public transport in Delhi, the reduction of sulphur in diesel and use of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) instead of coal as a domestic fuel.
This significant progress is a useful indicator to protect ozone depletion and boost sustainable development in future, and provides lessons that we can learn from.



One of the most important environmental concerns the world faces today is of depletion of the ozone layer in the stratosphere. The concern is because of the fact that the ozone layer plays a protective role, screening the earth from harmful ultraviolet radiations. 
The depletion of the ozone layer has been a cause of concern for global community as it affects human health and natural ecosystems. This realisation has prompted development of control measures to save the ozone layer.
The United Nations General Assembly in December 1994 adopted a resolution proclaiming September 16 as the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. The theme for the day this year is ‘A healthy atmosphere, the future we want’.
As the world’s urban population increases, urban areas encounter new phenomena and problems. Uncontrolled uses of resources, greenhouse effect, ozone depletion, etc., have been caused by urbanisation and industrialisation. Urban centres have concentrated industries, construction, transportation and households. Land-use changes induced by urban growth may lead to deforestation and reductions in the uptake of CO2 by vegetation. Landfill sites taking up urban wastes also generate methane. Cement, as a construction material of primary importance to development of urban infrastructure as well as of commercial and residential buildings, also has a large carbon footprint due to an energy-intensive manufacturing process and high energy cost for transporting this dense material.
Lastly, many activities like agriculture, livestock production, mining and timber collection increase GHG emissions as direct emitters or reduce the uptake of these gases by vegetation.
Most global and regional environmental problems originate in cities. Cities concentrate increasing numbers of people and human activities; thus, they import increasing amounts of natural resources and export vast quantities of emissions and waste. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are GHGs that are produced solely by human activities. CFCs were widely used as refrigerants before it was discovered that their presence in the atmosphere caused the depletion of the ozone layer. The main human sources of GHGs contributing to global warming are the dramatic rise in energy use, land-use changes and emissions from industrial activities.
Reducing the contribution of cities to climate change, or mitigation, requires an adequate understanding of the drivers of urban GHG emissions, while effective adaptation must be based on a good understanding of what makes cities and their constituent socioeconomic groups either vulnerable or resilient to climate change impacts. Reducing GHG emissions is, therefore, one of the key policy challenges that cities face. The size and density of population are key determinants of cities’ GHG emissions. So, it is important to have a framework for understanding the levels and drivers of emissions by different demographic and economic sectors, buildings and infrastructures within, or serving urban areas.
Motor vehicles are the primary cause of pollution in cities. Producing the energy required to run modern urban systems often involves burning fossil fuels, which releases such greenhouse gases as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. The increasing demand for energy to run air conditioning and electrical appliances is also contributing to pollution. These emissions lead to global warming, which can cause destruction of the ozone layer and climate change.
Transport policy, planning and land use policy are fundamentally linked. The pattern and density of urban development has a major influence on travel patterns. Sustainable city planning should aim at achieving social and environmental equity while improving the lives of the people. For that to happen, we need to have a sustainable city form as well as provision and proper management of the services. Thus, in order for a city or urban area to be sustainable it needs to produce and manage basic services like water, waste, energy and transportation in a way that it conforms to the principles of sustainable development. In other words, the city should be able to produce and distribute the services in an economic, environment-friendly and equitable way.
While planning for sustainable development of the towns, we should also take into account the factor of climate change. Planning looks at the needs of people and the environment whilst respecting limits to development. Urban planning must recognise regional limits to development in order to maintain natural habitats and biodiversity, which is so important to our continued existence. Broad landscape conservation is necessary to maintain ecosystem function and biodiversity, but there is also a great opportunity for sensitive redevelopment of many previously-developed areas. Urban design facilitates individual building lots to maximise winter sun penetration, minimise excessive summer heat gain and the design and construction of dwellings that are designed with passive solar design principles.
The rapid demographic growth in and around Indian cities is changing the physical dimensions of its cities, that is, the size, shape, density, land uses, spatial structure and building types. Increased urban development puts intense pressure on existing urban infrastructure to support a good quality of life. Rapid urban growth often manifests itself as overcrowded and very high-density urban forms, claimed to contribute to crime, physical and mental illness and poor living conditions. Such urban forms are, therefore, generally considered to be socially, environmentally and economically unsustainable.
Sustainable urban development is an integral component of the universal aim of “Sustainable Development”. If properly designed, constructed and  operated, a sustainable city and sustainable building will require less money and fewer resources to operate, and will be healthier for its occupants. Buildings are “sustainable” when they are designed, built and operated with low environmental, social, and economic impacts while enhancing the health, welfare and quality of life of the people.
For sustainable urban development, a number of urban programmes have been initiated by Government of India. Recent urban initiatives of the Government of India include Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), e-Governance in Municipalities, National Urban Sanitation Policy, Citywide Slum Upgradation Programme, setting up of Centres of Excellence in Urban Development, Sustainable Habitat Mission – Green Building, public transportation and solid waste management.
Recognising the importance of urbanisation and its vulnerability from climate change, the National Action Plan on Climate Change had proposed setting up of a National Sustainable Habitat Mission. The mission looks at developing standardised eco-building norms to promote energy efficiency, improved urban planning by integrating land use and transportation plans and focus on shift towards public transport to facilitate growth of cities, promoting sustainable waste management focusing on reduce-recycle-reuse and waste-to-energy options.
India became a party to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and has ratified all the amendments to the Montreal Protocol. Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, provide a comprehensive set of regulations to control and monitor production and use of ozone depleting substances (ODS) in India.
Besides, there are a number of practical measures which can be taken at individual level to protect the nature earth. Everyone should be responsible for the use and abuse of certain products that have a negative effect on nature. There are many simple ways in which we can save our ozone layer. We should use alternative means of transport: buses, bicycles, or simply walk.

To protect the ozone layer, we must prevent the release of ozone-depleting substances to the atmosphere.  Whenever possible, we must also replace them with safer alternatives. Before demanding implementation of policies, let’s begin ourselves doing something to protect the ozone layer and save our environment.