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Beach pollution and sustainable tourism in St. Martin’s Island


  • Beach pollution is a persistent problem.
  • The pollution is closely related to tourism.
  • Tourism is essential for the country people and local people.
  • Sustainable tourism is the best option to protect the beach environment and biodiversity.
  • Data were collected by direct observation and key informant interviews.



  • Finding out the possible sources of beach pollution.
  • Effects of tourism on the beach ecosystem.
  • Recommending some effective measures that will be fruitful in protecting the beach and tourism as well.


Causes of beach pollution

Beach can be polluted by the various way (e.g. microplastic pollution, Litter/garbage, Oil, eutrophication, sewage etc.).


Tourism potential in St. Martin’s Island

Small islands are attractive to tourists since they create feelings of remoteness and isolation, peace and quiet and sense of timelessness.

St. Martin’s Island is one of the most popular tourists place in Bangladesh because of its

  • Attractive natural beauty,
  • Seaweed,
  • Sandy beach and
  • Colonies of colorful corals on a rock
  • The road transport, ships, and hotels are available here


Tourism is important for some reasons. It ensures

  • Economic Viability
  • Local Prosperity
  • Employment Opportunity
  • Social Equity
  • Community Wellbeing
  • Cultural Richness


Beach pollution by haphazard tourism

Beach pollution started from very early of the set out of ships from Teknaf

  • Tourists throw different plastics, cane, and garbage into the sea.
  • They throw chips packet after feeding birds in ships.
  • After reaching St. Martin’s jetty, tourists and ship authority discharge pollutants into the sea.
  • Ships dump oil in jetty.


Effects of tourism

Though some measures are being taken to reduce beach pollution that is not seem to be effective. Law enforcement is not strict also. That results in some adverse effect on the environment.

1. Aquatic organisms like fish, turtles, molluscs, and crabs are being found dead.

2. Seaweed is being uprooted.

3. Coral bleaching due to beach erosion and sedimentation.

4. Overdependence on tourism, leakages, seasonality.

5. Competition for resources, land, and labor.

6. Competition for infrastructure.

7. Socio-cultural impacts.


Sustainable tourism

Now a days, tourism has become a vital income generation sector in many islands’ countries. Sustainable tourism is very important for a country. While it will generate income sector & employment without deteriorating environment health.



  • For example, in the island of Antigua, tourism receipts account for 58 percent of the Gross National Product (GNP) and
  • In the Canary Islands, tourism also accounts for approximately 50 percent of the GDP.



  • In Western Samoa, 10 percent of the jobs are tourism-related, and
  • In the Falkland Islands, tourism increased the household income by providing part-time jobs.



Many small islands now use tourism development as a growth strategy to attain greater economic and development performance, as well as to diversify their economies.


Socio-cultural impacts

Tourism also contributes to small islands’ ‘renewed interest in local

  • Arts and crafts,
  • Improvements in educational,
  • Leisure,
  • Communication,
  • Medical and other facilities


Recommendation for sustainable tourism in St. Martin’s Island

  • Tourism is important for many island states because it is a source of foreign exchange. But the local people are less beneficiary of Tourism in St. Martin’s Island. Some measures must be taken and some existing measures should be modified.
  • Creating awareness among the tourist about beach pollution and its effects on the environment. It must be done all year round. To execute this, mass media (e.g. TV, Radio, and Newspaper etc.) can be an effective tool.
  • Regular display of Television (TV) on the ship about their activities and how their activities pollute the marine environment.
  • Regular monitoring of tourist activities. Tourist shouldn’t feed birds.
  • Tourist shouldn’t throw non-biodegradable components (e.g. plastic materials) into the sea.
  • Using CCTV and implement punishment (e.g. compensation of money) on a regular basis
  • After reaching St. Martin Island, ship authority must amass the plastic materials in some safe place instead of discharge into the sea. Every ship must be punished with a high amount of money as compensation for discharging wastes into the ocean.
  • On the beach, there must be a lot of portable dustbins, and basket
  • Use given and taken policy. If someone (only local people) give plastic materials, they will be gifted.
  • Upcycling the oceans on a regular basis. The collected plastic will be recycled to manufacture clothes, shoes and bags.
  • Instead of a dog, use CCTV. Dog bites tourists and local people and it is very difficult getting vaccine here. Moreover, the turtle could not come to the beach for laying an egg. They are attacked by dogs frequently.  
  • Use multimedia presentation in every tourist crowed point about their activities (what can they do and what can’t).
  • On spot, punishment must be implemented and for this should use the mobile court.
  • Restriction on the entrance on the rock where seaweed and coral inhibit.
  • Residence close to the beach should not use a light after 10 p.m. since turtle face disturb in coming to the beach and lay an egg.
  • All kind of sound system (e.g. DJ party, singing song etc.) and Fanus also should be banned especially at night.
  • Provide an easy loan to local people and ownership of the business in every tourism activities. Restrict outside people business here to improve the socio-economic condition of the local community.
  • Overall, strict law enforcement must be ensured.



Tourism should be promoted considering the ecosystem and biodiversity of Saint Martin’s Island. We should protect our environment via eco-friendly tourism practice.



Authors express special thanks to Shemol Dey, Md. Joynal Abedin, Md. Monir & Juwel.