Majuli is the largest river island in the world but is fast eroding. Read below to know about the ecotourism in Majuli and the carbon-free initiatives by the government to SAVE Majuli.
A luxuriant paradise, Majuli is among India’s eco-friendly destinations, with a pollution-free environment. Blessed with natural beauty, this island sleeps in the lap of the mighty Brahmaputra, offering rich biodiversity and many cultural hotspots.
From climate to culture, Majuli Island has numerous elements to attract curious eco-tourists from around the world.
The very fact that Guinness World Records declared it the world’s largest river island and is also listed under UNESCO’s world heritage sites, makes Majuli Island one of the best eco-friendly destinations in India. So any eco-conscious traveler who wishes to witness Majuli’s potential for practicing ecotourism activities must make a plan right away.
But before diving deep into Majuli Island’s environmental concerns, let’s find out what makes Majuli Island an environment-friendly destination and why you should visit at least once in your life.
Ecotourism in Majuli Island
What is ecotourism? A conscious travel decision to natural places to appreciate the beauty without disturbing the ecology, promoting conservation and low visitor impact. Right?
Majuli Island in Assam is a lush green heaven, home to a variety of flora and fauna species. Also, to protect the tribes and their culture, it is imperative to save what has left of this beautiful island by making environmentally conscious decisions and keeping it free of mass tourism, which we all know has a not-so-great impact.
One of the major ecological issues is excess plastic use. And when dumped into the mighty Brahmaputra, it deteriorates the islands’ conditions. Further, it has resulted in water and soil contamination in Majuli and has indirectly affected the ponds and the locals’ living.
If not stopped, this will be a major issue in the future.
Thankfully, to keep things under control, the government took initiatives under provisions of section 188 of the IPC and banned the sale, use, and purchase of plastics products like PET bottles, poly bags, plastic straws, and polystyrene products like plates, bowls, and glasses, making Majuli one of the plastic-free destinations in India.
Some features that make Majuli an eco-friendly destination
- Majuli has traditional bamboo cottages that don’t harm the environment.
- There are many eco-friendly resorts for a comfortable stay.
- Tents can also be set up at La Lolat Eco Camp at Majuli.
- People brew local wine called Sai Mod, unique to the Mising Tribe of Assam.
- Preparation of Purang Apin (Tupula Bhaat), a traditional dish of the Mising community of Assam, is a must.
- Locals grow organic vegetables.
- Mustard plantations are located near La Lolat Eco Camp.
- Majuli is home to migratory birds like woodpeckers and kingfishers.
- Local fishes of the Brahmaputra are sold at local markets.
- A handloom showroom has been set up.
- Many tree plantations are located in Majuli.
Now that you know the reasons to visit eco-friendly Majuli in Assam, it is also important to know the rising concerns about the island.
Under the thriving biodiversity lies the concern of Majuli being eroded by the Brahmaputra day-by-day, inch-by-inch. So what is the government doing to save it? What initiatives are being taken? Will it be completely gone after a few years?
Threats of it being completely eaten away by the Brahmaputra are giving people sleepless nights. Let’s find out why…
What’s causing Majuli’s erosion?
Official reports based on satellite data recorded that Majuli lost one-third of its land mass in the past 30 to 40 years.
The island has always been susceptible to seasonal flooding and erosion from the Brahmaputra, but climate change has affected the speed of this erosion. The temperature’s continuity to rise in the Himalayas directly impacts ice melting, leading to the flash floors in the river. So, the only thing that Majuli is sustaining on is tourism.
People have been coming from nearby states to relax and spend time away from city chaos.
But if erosion continues, will Majuli soon disappear into thin air?
To save the environment, the district administration has banned the sale, use, and purchase of plastic bags, which we have discussed earlier in this post.
Despite the shores being protected by an embankment of sandbags and concrete barriers, the island is swamped during rainy months. Experts have estimated Majuli to be completely submerged by 2030?!
Locals are struggling every day in spite of their attempts to develop Majuli into a tourist attraction. They attempt to live and make a living by fishing, building boats, and raising crops on silty soil. They rely on ferries to get to the nearest markets for daily food until new road bridges connecting Majuli to Jorhat and Lakhimpur are finished (the bridge’s foundation was laid in November 2021).
Carbon-free tourism initiative in Assam’s Majuli
As per an article from 2017, District Magistrate Naren Das said, “The use of plastic bags is a serious problem to human life and the consumption of tobacco leaves, gutka are injurious to health. So all these products will be prohibited with immediate effects.”
Needless to say, this is a major step towards making Majuli eco-friendly as it is but better and conserving this gem-like place for people to see and appreciate.
Carbon-free tourism in Majuli River Island’s objective is to take tourists through a virtual tour of local culture, folk literature, art and craft, and society as a whole.
In 2017, Majuli Sustainable Tourism Development Project (MSTDP) launched 30 orange-painted cycle rides to different Mishing villages as well as Vaishnavite Satras, where trained storytellers narrated the tales, history, and legends of this island to visitors.
With this initiative, Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) wanted to promote responsible tourism in Majuli by introducing quality tourism products. This way, it will benefit both the tourists and the local communities.
The Assam government also announced that Majuli Island in Assam is India’s free carbon-neutral area and has been taking sincere steps till today to keep up with this goal.
With that being said, the discussion about Majuli’s erosion is still ringing warning bells and fulminating about the vulnerabilities of this fragile island.
There is an immediate need to make plans for sustainable tourism in Majuli to save every inch, or it will soon become an old fable.
Measures for improving connectivity, educating the tourists about the local communities, and developing eco-friendly attractions for Majuli’s long-term survival are called for.
As a traveler, if you wish to visit Majuli, Indian Holiday offers tours to Majuli Island, encouraging you to travel responsibly and experience the nature and culture of Majuli by being as eco-friendly as possible.
This is the final article from our 5-part India’s Eco-friendly Destinations’ blog series. Read our previous blogs on the series where we covered Mawlynnong