By Ashwani Khurana
During a time when New Delhi has been declared as the world’s most polluted city in a study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is no news that climate change, environmental degradation and rising pollution are threatening the existence of our very planet. The need of the hour is to adopt environmentally-friendly practices that promote sustainable living. However, the question that arises is who is going to make this start? Whose efforts toward fulfilling the goals of sustainable development will reap richer dividends leading to a greener environment? Given the current scenario, the hospitality industry should show the way for others to initiate eco-friendly measures, aimed at preserving the environment.
Why should the hospitality industry take the lead?
The recent news of India overtaking France to become the sixth biggest economy in the world has caught global attention. While all sectors in the country have contributed to this growth, undoubtedly the hospitality sector has played a massive role in the same, with its ability to earn greater Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and contribute significantly to indirect tax revenue at the state and central level, including revenues from the Value Added Tax (VAT), Service Tax, Luxury Tax, amongst others.
Additionally, the hospitality industry of India has never experienced a period of slowdown ever-since the country achieved independence in 1947 and has only grown massively to reach new heights. In fact, it is one of those few sectors in the country that grew without any hiccups, during the period of recession in the year 2008, thanks to a rapid rise that India has seen in travel & tourism. According to a report by KPMG in 2017, India’s hospitality industry is expected to grow at 16.1% CAGR to reach Rs 2,796.9 crores in 2022.
Steps that will give back to the environment
It is important to understand that responsible living is not just about judicious utilization of the available resources but in fact, involves finding innovative and eco-friendly ways to preserve them for future use. This philosophy has enabled us to come up with initiatives such as eco-friendly bricks, tree-top development amongst several others. It is important to find alternatives to our resources to combat the threat that looms large over our environment, making the goal of achieving sustainable development more and more conceivable.
India’s groundwater depletion is a national crisis and this makes rain-water harvesting even more important for our country as for every 10 inches of rain on a 1,000 square foot roof, 6000 gallons of water can be collected. Several places are slowly adopting a zero runoff facility where not a single drop of rainwater is allowed to run off. Doing the same enables rainwater to be harvested for maintaining living spaces, landscaping and other uses.
Saying no to plastic
Many states in India have adopted a zero use of plastic policy as plastic waste takes over 1000 years to decompose and ultimately seeps down into the soil to release chemicals that reach the water supply. Resorts and hotels have been adopting the use of glass bottles for drinking water and discouraging the use of straws.
Although undoing the disastrous impact of our actions on the environment will require a lot of effort and time, we need to get started on this journey. For long we have only taken from the environment, but now it is time to give back.
Ashwani Khurana is an environmentalist and President of Karma Lakelands.
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