In the present day, when IPL and World Cup gain international attention, it is evident that sports as an industry has substantial potential to grow with both economical and social benefits. In line with the same, water sports also have a considerable amount of support and a business in this sector can have its positive and negative effects on the ecology and economy. This article aims to understand how local water sports and their development impact the ecology and economy of the beach or ocean habitat, as the case may be.
It is inevitable that when humans interfere with the natural environment for personal gains, it would leave behind a broken environment with no biodiversity and life. However, environmentally conscious activities will provide room for growth and development of the country and also provide scope for local communities to protect their water resources by engaging in profitable initiatives.
Just like how cricket grounds are well maintained, and pitch protected at all costs for a game, so will a business in water sports impact the way water bodies are maintained and conserved. Recreational activities related to water would enable the conservation of the water body, for with water there would be no income generated which would further impact the livelihoods of those dependent on it. Having a well-structured business involved in water sports and allied tourism would provide a space for water conservation, protection, and preservation. Even though the primary reason for protecting the water body is based on economic reasons and not rooted in ecological one, it is still a system that could ultimately lead to conservation of India’s water bodies including lakes, ponds, coastal waters, and rivers.
In order to understand the linkages that exist between the local communities and developing water sports activities in regional water resources, let us consider an example. For instance, let us consider the Marina beach, located in the heart of the city of Chennai. Marina beach is on the coast of the Bay of Bengal is India’s longest beach and is considered the second-longest in the world. Despite the historical and geological significance, the beach is unpopular due to poor maintenance and is often strewn all over with a thick plastic cover. The Bay of Bengal has several scopes for water sporting activities, but sadly the water is unclean and maybe do more harm than good when one soaks their feet in the chill waters. As of 2018, scientists from the National Centre for Coastal Research found extremely high levels of fecal coliforms like E-coli in the water which may be due to the garbage and sewage dumped into the waters (Tejonmayam, 2018). As a result, the fish from the water may not also be healthy for consumption, and a beach of wonder which has the potential to generate income remains yet another poorly developed region of the country.
However, if the city management involves the local public in maintaining the beach, it would generate income and would attract tourists. The money collected in the form of tickets can be further used to expand the businesses around the region to provide room for recreational activities like water sports including boating, kayaking, yachting, swimming, and the like. These recreational activities would over a period of time provide an incentive for the local communities to preserve and protect the natural environment for it generates a reliable source of income. In other words, the economic benefits will provide scope for the preservation of the water resources so as to maintain the income levels and the resultant standard of living from beach tourism.
In addition to these processes at a local level, initiatives at the individual front will also further help in the conservation of water resources. Many joggers and surfers across the world, utilize their time jogging, to pick up plastic and trash strewn around the community, which again helps in ensuring that this waste does not end up in water bodies.
In essence, for a water body to be used for recreational purposes, conditions focusing on the physical, chemical, and biological attributes determine whether the water is capable of supporting recreational activities. The sporting activities would generate economic benefits and thus, there would be an imposed pressure to maintain the various determining factors of water quality at the optimum level. In the larger picture, this would protect the water resource. The conservation efforts would further nurture and nourish the flora and fauna dependent on the water body. With the entire system well-planned and executed, it would make the ecosystem of the region sustainable.
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