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[Contribution] Caves endangered by tourism

Posted August. 03, 2000 13:24,   


Nowadays, local governments are competitively developing grottoes, raising disputes among the public. Caves are a peculiar environment like darkrooms, where sunshine is shielded, and therefore, there particular organisms live in abundance.

Caves provide us with very important academic information. With the observation of the living things in the caves, we can study the process of biological evolution and find clues to understand weather conditions a long time ago.

However, if such mysterious and beautiful natural grottoes are exposed to the general public, it gives rise to many side effects.

In the first place, opening the caves will inflict fatal damage on the animate things there. And foodstuffs and beverages that the spectators bring in there could have serious impacts on the caverns themselves and on the biological formations in the grottoes. Due to the lighting in there, plants like moss that are not native to the caves are growing, and this damages the natural beauty unique to the grottoes. The fever and carbon dioxide generated by tourists slow down the speed of botanical growth and accelerate deterioration of the caves.

Nevertheless, local governments seem to be ignorant of these problems. They are only interested in collecting entrance fees. This is a marked departure from the policies of foreign countries, which preserve beautiful natural legacies in respect to mysterious and precious natural resources.

For the development of caves, authorities must uphold a philosophy. First of all, they need to have a sense of gratitude and acknowledge the importance of natural heritage handed down by ancestors. At the same time, they must have a mission to preserve these treasures for their posterity in perfect shape.

In the case of developing the caves due to inevitable reasons, the parties concerned are required to do so in a manner to preserve their existing natural environments. To this end, the supervisory agencies concerned with cultural preservation should employ specialists for supervising caves and entrust them to manage the caves. And they should teach tourists how precious the natural creatures are.

In order to develop caves on this philosophical basis, there is one condition that must be considered.

The grottoes are classified into three categories: high-energy caves; middle-energy caves; and low-energy ones. High-energy caves are influenced little by spectators, for there is much water. Middle-energy caves, where there is not much water, are influenced by visitors at first, but they gradually recover their original state with the elapse of time. Low-energy caves, on the other hand, where water is scare, have become sterile.

Hence, if low-energy caves are exposed to multitudes of visitors, the grottoes will become dry, creatures there will become discolored, and they will crack and stop growing. The question is that caves in the country mostly belong to the middle-energy category. If they are developed recklessly, they could be ruined completely.

As the country is abundant with caves of academic value, their desolation is the last thing to do. Such being the case, the related authorities are required to determine their development after thorough considerations as to academic value, the potential for damage after development, and income and outgo.