INTACH Visakhapatnam chapter aggregator says enlightened tourism needs an hour to conserve geodiversity

‘Heritage sites cannot be destroyed in the name of tourism and tourists should be educated about geographic heritage, geodiversity and biodiversity’

‘Heritage sites cannot be destroyed in the name of tourism and tourists should be educated about geographic heritage, geodiversity and biodiversity’

Where we live, the places we visit, and the food we eat are somehow rooted in geodiversity. However, we rarely look or look to the past to understand how this relates to geodiversity, said D. Rajasekhara Reddy, convener of INTACH’s Vizag division.

talk to HinduHe said that USESCO has decided to celebrate October 6 as the International Day of Geodiversity, and this will be the first year we will observe the day globally.

As a geologist and former professor in Andhra University’s Department of Geology, geodiversity is everywhere, he said. “Considering the coastline stretching from RK Beach to Bheemunipatnam, we can divide this section into four segments with potential geodiversity features,” he said.

At Bheemunipatnam we have the Gosthani river that empties into the sea and it can be classified as Estuarine Beach which has its own unique geophysical features. The surface features of Bheemunipatnam beach are different from Thotlakonda beach, which is classified as Rocky Beach. Thotlakonda Beach has many wave cutting features such as the bridge carved into the natural rock. Tenneti park beach is a paleo wave cut platform as the beach may have submerged from adjacent mountain level millions of years ago and RK Beach is a sandy beach.

According to him, many people do not know these features and their importance. He also pointed out that creating a park in Tenneti park or cutting mountains to build structures is a flawed way of doing something in the name of development without understanding the importance of geo-heritage.

We must learn to strike a balance between development and conservation, as geodiversity is directly linked to biodiversity and authorities need to understand that ‘the present is the key to the past’. If we can understand the past, it is a window to the future,” he said.

The geologist also said that tourism cannot be developed at the expense of destroying geodiversity. The Eastern Ghats are 1,600 million years old. The Borra Caves are about 1300 million years old, and the volcanic ash deposit in the Araku valley is at least 74,000 years old, having traveled all the way from the Indonesian island of Toba. These sites cannot be destroyed in the name of tourism and this is why UNESCO promotes ‘enlightened tourism’ because each place is unique. The idea, he said, is that tourists should be educated about geographic heritage, geodiversity and biodiversity.

Talking about INTACH, he said the trust has more than 4,000 schools as members, and some of them run heritage clubs. INTACH also has 227 chapters across the country and schools are under Heritage Education and Community Service. INTACH Heritage Academy also offers certificate and diploma courses.

Exhibition

As part of Geodiversity Day, INTACH and Andhra University are holding an exhibition at the Geology Department on Saturday that showcases ancient rocks, fossils and features of geodiversity. On October 2, a clean-up program will be held at Erramatti Dibbalu with the Eastern Naval Forces Command and a geoheritage march will be held at the same location. On October 1st, geologist Dhananjay M. Mohabe will hold a zoom meeting on ‘The Story of the Indian Dinosaurs’. Details can be obtained from the geodiversityday.org website.

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