Udupi, (The Hindu): Pramod Madhwaraj, Minister for Fisheries, Youth Empowerment and Sports, inaugurated an eco-tourism and responsible travel initiative on the picturesque St. Mary’s Island, 6.5 km off Malpe beach, on Thursday.
Under this initiative, the island’s ecology, natural heritage and biodiversity would be conserved. This will help improve its international tourism rating.
Tourists would be informed about the social and environmental issues and sustainable practices. The reuse of eco-friendly material would be encouraged, while plastic items would be banned on the island.
Facilities which would be provided on the island included food court, huts and gazebo, covered waiting area, first aid, lifeguard duty and safety equipment, seating arrangements, an office set-up, screening at entrance gate, luggage room, night security, street lamps, information centre and a souvenir shop.
Provision has been made to store 15,000 litres of fresh water on the island. Water sports activities available on the island include jet-ski, snorkelling, kayaking, cliff diving, para-sailing, banana ride, circling the island, dolphin sighting, angling, stand-up paddle and swimming. Under Basalt Rock Trail, tourists would be taken to Boulder Beach and Seashell Beach on the island. A Flora and Fauna Trail too is available. Cycling trails and day-time camping facilities would be provided.
Tourists would be taken to the Peak Point, where they can get a 360 degree view of the island. The other plans include holding of workshops, and cultural events. The island was declared a “zero-waste island” in 2016. About 450 tonnes of waste had been cleared off the island in the last two years. The beautification of the island has been done by mostly eco-friendly material.
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