Write a research proposal on the impact of tourism on the coastal environment of India.


This research proposal seeks to investigate the impact of tourism on the coastal environment of India. The study is based on the hypothesis that tourism activities contribute to pollution of the coastal environment and the level of government regulations influence how tourists interact with the coastal ecosystem. Literature review indicates a positive correlation between tourism and coastal environment. The proposed study will employ quantitative techniques to collect and analyze data. Responses collected using questionnaires will be analyzed and interpreted using the Spearman and Pearson and descriptive statistics. Snowballing technique is used to get participants from the 24 coastal cities of India. The study will discuss how actions of the tourists directly affect India’s coastal environment.

Nature of the Study
As worldwide demand for leisure and recreation activities grows, numerous tourism opportunities have been created for countries with unique and natural environments. Among the popular destinations for tourist are the coastal regions. India has a significant size of coastal resources with rich aquatic biodiversity. The country has one of the world’s longest coastline spanning about 8,414 kilometers. The increasing pressure from environmental pollutants strains most of the country’s coastal resources. About 45 percent of India’s coastline is facing attrition with the Andaman and Nicobar Islands recording the highest level of erosion of close to 89 percent (Rajawat et al., 2015). Early this year, volunteers removed 5.3 million kilograms of rubbish from the beach of Mumbai, the world’s largest amount of litter ever removed from a public city beach (stuff, 2017). There are other eighteen more beaches across India that are similarly toxic and heavily littered.
Disposal of raw sewage and industrial waste constitute the largest pollutants of the coastal regions of India. on the other hand, waste from the mainland washed into the coastlines through rivers is having a significant toll on the well-being of the coastal environment. About 31,250 tons of synthetic detergents, 1.25 million tons of fertilizers from farms, and 13,750 tons of pesticides find their way into the coastal waters (Gupta et al., 1989). Recent studies have indicated a correlation between tourist activities and environmental pollution. Acts such as deep diving close to aquatic habitats, littering, trampling, and picking of coastal vegetation are some of the behaviors by the tourists that contribute to ruining of coastal environment (Egbuche et al., 2015). on the contrary, the constant use causes “wear and tear” of the coastal resources such as the contamination of beach waters. The disappearance of coastal vegetation, destruction of aquatic habitats, and piling plastic material in the coastal water is directly linked to tourist activities. This research proposal intends to investigate the impact of tourism on the coastal environment of India.
Problem Statement
Few scholars have investigated the role of tourism activities on the degradation of the coastal environment of India. The available limited studies that investigated similar topic show a strong correlation between the activities related to the tourism industry and the degradation of coastal environment (Bera, 2015; Egbuche et al., 2015; Ghosh & Datta, 2012). The major areas affected by the tourist undertakings include the deep water, beaches, coral reefs, aquatic breeding areas, habitats, and coastal vegetation. Evidence shows that movements, picking of wild plant’s flowers and leave, littering, and physical interference of deep ocean environment as among the activities that affect the well-being of the coastal environment. Thus, these studies support the hypothesis that tourism has a direct impact on the coastal environments. Unfortunately, responsible parties do not appreciate the impact of tourist activities on the coastal environment of India. For that reason, the proposed research hypothesizes that weak government regulation on the coastal tourism industry permits environmental irresponsibility among the key players.
Purpose Statement
The goal of this research is the development of knowledge about the link between tourism activities and pollution of the coastal environment. There is a sense of urgency to come up with research data that can influence policy formation and implementation by the key stakeholders. The proposed investigation will explore different tourist-related action and activities that affect the coastal environment. Additionally, the study intends to examine the relationship between the government regulation or lack of and the effect of tourism on the coastal environment. This research paper will make a significant contribution to the research literature on the subject.
Aims and Objectives
The primary objective of the study is to determine, recognize, and comprehend the effect of tourism on the coastal environment of India. The study intends to investigate:
The current state of the coastal environment in India
The correlation between tourism and pollution of the coastal environment
How tourism activities contribute to the pollution of the India’s coasts
The overall significance of the tourism industry in the global market
Research Question
What is the impact of tourism activities on the well-being of the coastal environment of India?
What are the tourist activities that affect India’s coastal environment?
To what level do the government regulations on tourism industry affect the impact of tourists’ activities on India’s coastal environment?

Literature Review
Defining Coastal Pollution
The UN Convention on Law of Sea defines coastal pollution as the introduction of substances into the coastal environment that includes estuaries, beaches, and seawater, which is likely to affect the marine life and the quality of coastal resources (Islam & Tanaka, 2004). Plastic waste, untreated sewage, and oil spillage are some of the major coastal pollutants (Vikas & G.S.Dwarakish, 2015). The principle concern for the pollution of the coastal environment is the effect to the ecosystem within which the marine organisms exist. Pollution of the coastal waters distorts the habitat and food supply of the aquatic life that bread and live on the shores. Most importantly, marine pollution is directly related to health effects in human beings. The coastal pollutants accumulate in ocean organisms used as food hence exposing consumers to toxic pollutants (Duraisamy & Latha, 2011). The level of pollution of India’s coastal areas is increasing at an alarming rate during the past three decades. Studies show that the majority of the pollutants let into the coastal shores and waters come directly from human activities.
Studies on Coastal Pollution in India
A significant number of scholarly literature investigating coastal pollution in India indicates a profound connection between disposal of untreated waste and deterioration of the coastal environment. More than 1.11 × 1010m³ of sewage generated by the population living in the coastal areas is let into the waters untreated (Zingde, 2008). There other inland sources of pollutants that find their way into the coastal water through inland rivers. More than 31,250 tons of synthetic detergents, 1.25 million tons of fertilizers from farms, and 13,750 tons of pesticides are washed into India’s coastal waters every year (Gupta et al., 1989). Though less evident, the cumulative effect of these biodegradable or soluble waste disposed into the coastal waters can be quite harmful. For example, results of an investigation of the level of toxic elements in the coastal waters of Chennai showed that there is a high concentration of toxic elements in the beaches used by the public for recreation (Shanmugam, et al., 2006). These elements include nickel, lead, cobalt, and cadmium, which can cause serious health problems including cancer.
The level of pollution of the coastal environment has gradually increased in the past two decades. A study conducted in 1991 showed that the level of toxic pollutants in most of the Indian coastal regions was within the acceptable limits (Pillai, 1996). Equally, there was strict implementation of restrictions on setting or expansion of business, mining or industrial operations in mudflats, mangroves, corals, salt marshes, horseshoe crab habitats, turtle nesting grounds, seas grass beds, and nesting grounds for coastal birds (Marale & Mishra, 2011). As of 2010, the concentration level had increased and is linked to the growth of population in coastal urban cities (Duraisamy & Latha, 2011). The amount of industrial waste and sewage disposed into the ocean has risen significantly. The recreational activities in many of the country’s beaches are linked to the mounting size of litter seen on popular beaches. Thousands of kilograms of plastic waste laying ashore results from the chronic littering by the local and visiting users.
Studies on Tourism Effect on Coastal Pollution
Few scholars have investigated how tourist activities contribute to the environmental degradation of India’s coasts. While significant studies exist on the effects of beach littering and waste disposal in coastal waters, little has been done to quantify the impact of tourism-related behaviors in degradation of coastal features and distortion of the aquatic ecosystem. The devastating effect of the tourist-generated garbage is evident in some of the attractive aquatic sites in India. For example, Divas at the Mormugao islands that have a rich marine life and coral reefs have reported spotting waste under water (Fernandes, 2017). The amount of floating trash in the coral-fringed island is alarming.
One study examined the impact of tourism on the coastal ecology of Digha in West Bengal. The results revealed that tourists were responsible for the most of the beach litter and plastic waste in the coastal waters. Another similar study investigated the role of tourism on pollution of the beaches of the state of Maharashtra. Results show that visitors are largely accountable to the rubbish floating on the state’s 720 kilometers coastline (Pisolkar & Chaudhary, 2015). Tourists use and dispose alcohol bottles, plastic bags, and clothing on the beaches without showing concern for the well-being of the coastal environment. As a result, the natural habitat of the marine life is chocked with the non-biodegradable rubbish floating in critical areas of reproduction of aquatic organisms (Pisolkar & Chaudhary, 2015). The high number of retail outlets operating around different coastal tourist sites supply the majority of litter discarded in the beaches. The tides pull these materials into the ocean and quay them in the coastlines.
Tourism-related development in the coastal villages has had a profound negative effect on the natural coastal ecosystem. Destruction of the sandy spaces, land reclamation, and diminishing dune vegetation are some of the environmental effects brought about by tourism-related development activities (Mangalassery, 2016). Bera (2015) identifies construction of lodges, roads, resorts, shopping malls, and parking zones as the major activities affecting the coastal environments of India. Bera (2015) concludes that the high level of pollution in India’s coastal regions is contributed by lack of proper management of the tourism industry in India. This assertion is supported by a study of the correlation between tourism and beach sustainability in Kovalam, India. The researchers concluded that unsustainable tourism practices are the major drivers of coastal pollution in the country (Ghosh & Datta, 2012). According to Puja Mitra of World Wide Fund Nature (WWF), tourism in India needs to be regulated, and operators should be educated on the importance of preserving the fragile coastal ecology (Fernandes, 2017). Coastal erosion, distortion of biodiversity, and deteriorating water quality are some of the environmental effects resulting from tourists-related developments.
Case Study: Impacts of Tourism on South China Sea’ Coastal Environment
Several studies have investigated the environmental impact of coastal tourism in other countries. One such research is the examination of the impact of tourism on the coast of the South China Sea conducted by Egbuche et al. (2015). The researchers acknowledge that tourism activities exert pressure on the coastal biodiversity and forest ecosystem. Simple but repetitive actions such as trampling by tourists walking through coastal vegetation had a significant impact on coastal and forest vegetation, particularly in the Dongguan forest park (Egbuche et al., 2015). The report also points out that the continued use of coastal resources cause a constant tear and wear of the environment. Efforts for rehabilitation the fragile ecosystems are hindered by the activities that modify the natural settings of the coastal environment.
The study identified degradation of the aesthetic quality of the coastal environment as one of the main environmental effects of tourism activities. Careless disposal of paper, polyethylene, cigarette packs, cans, and bottles were the culprit contributors to deterioration of the visual quality of the coastal ecosystem. There was a significant reduction in the quality of microbiological ecology, environmental hygiene, and stagnation of vegetation growth due to cutting, trampling, and flower picking (Egbuche et al., 2015). The study also found that tourist activities had a significant impact on the species composition of the coastal vegetation. This was caused by a collection of flower shoots, which prevented the plant species from seeding. In Guangdong province, the increased pressure on the coastal biodiversity led to significant loss of natural habitats leading to a reduction of the population aquatic organisms, especially in the vulnerable coastal wetlands (Egbuche et al., 2015). The findings of this study will influence the research approach adopted in the investigation of the same subject in India’s coastal environment.
Research Design and Method
Research Hypothesis
Hypothesis 1: A positive correlation between littering and tourism activities in Indian coasts exist
Hypothesis 2: The level of pollution perpetrated by tourists’ activities is largely by cause of weak government regulation of the tourism industry
Population Sample and Recruitment Procedures
The study targets two groups of potential participants that include 1) the coastal residents and 2) coastal tourist who have visited India’s coasts. The coastal tourist constitutes both foreign and local visitors. Previous researchers (Ghosh & Datta, 2012; Bera, 2015; Pisolkar & Chaudhary, 2015) focused on specific coastal regions of the country, which makes their findings less representative of the national situation. A minimum of 10 participants will be picked from each of the 24 coastal cities of India (see table) giving a total of 240 participants. Six candidates will be residents of the coastal city, and four will be the tourists (two local and two foreign) who have visited the city’s coastal areas in the past one year. The research will ignore the population size of each coastal city because it has no significant impact on the research results.
Retrieved from: www.worldlistmania.com, 2017
The snowballing sampling method will be used to recruit potential participants. A suitable participant is identified and asked to refer or nominate another candidate who fulfills the requirements for participation in the study (Seidman, 2013). The process continues until the needed sample size is achieved. This method is suitable for low budget research programs because it is cheap to access and recruit participants (Handcock and Gile, 2011). Conversely, it makes it possible for the researcher to access target populations that are hard to reach because of distance. Initial participants will be recruited from the social media (Facebook and Twitter). The social media makes it possible to contact candidates that are inaccessible due to distance. Consent and confidentiality will be communicated before administration of the study.
Data Collection and Processing
Survey questionnaires will be used as the method of collecting data from the selected study sample. The Likert Scale Survey method will be used to rate the strength of the responses given by the respondents. The participants will answer the questions through the SurveyMonkey software tool (www.surveymonkey.com) that makes it possible for the respondents to answer and submit responses remotely. Two sets of questionnaires will be used, one for the coastal residents and another for tourists. The coastal resident questionnaire will have six questions, and the tourist questionnaire will have four questions. The Excel software will be used for statistical analysis of the data collected because it is easily accessible and cost-effective.
Identification and recruitment of the initial participant through the social media will be challenging and may require a long time to achieve. Conversely, the study assumes that the participants will be truthful in their responses. If responses are untruthful or exaggerated, the accuracy of the findings will be affected.
Statistical Analysis
The research intends to develop an understanding of the link between; 1) tourism activities and pollution of the coastal environment, and 2) government regulation and coastal pollution by tourist activities. Descriptive statistical analysis will be used to develop the relationship between the variables being investigated. A decrease of variable Y with variable X represents a negative correlation, and an increase in the value of variable Y with variable X denotes a positive relationship. Additionally, the Spearman and Pearson analysis techniques will be employed to measure the correlation between studied variables. The analyzed results will be presented using percentages, charts, graphs, and tables to help the readers comprehend the implication of the study findings.
Table 2: Sample Investigative Questions

Questionnaire Research Question Investigative Questions

Coastal Resident Questionnaire How do tourist activities affect India’s coastal environment? How much litter do you think tourists leave on the coastal beaches?
What is the average number of tourist visiting coastal regions in your locality?

Tourist Questionnaire To what level do the government regulations on tourism industry affect the impact of tourists’ activities on India’s coastal environment?
Rate the environmental state of the coastal regions that you visited
Did you drop or dispose of any litter in the beaches or water during your stay? If yes, what was the amount and type of litter?

The proposed research seeks to investigate the relationship between coastal environment and tourist activities. As India strives to find ways of protecting the coastal environment from pollution, exploring the role played by tourism is paramount. Very few scholarly papers exploring this topic exists hence the significance of the study in contributing to the available literature. Previous studies in the region and other countries show that tourist actions affect the coastal hygiene, ecosystem, aquatic habitat, and coastal vegetation of the regions frequently visited. As to investigate the phenomenon, the proposed study will administer survey questionnaires to participants from all the 24 coastal cities of India. Snowballing technique will be used to select study sample for its cost-effectiveness and ability to bridge distance barrier. Using the Spearman and Pearson design, the data collected will be analyzed and interpreted for presentation. This investigation aspires to enhance knowledge on how tourism activities affect the coastal environment and propose measures for sustainable coastal tourism.
Survey Questionnaires

Coastal Resident Questionnaire
How much litter do you think tourists leave on the coastal beaches?
What is the average number of tourist visiting coastal regions in your locality?
Rate the environmental state of the coastal regions of your locality
How often do you see tourist visiting the attraction sites in your area?
What are the common types of waste left behind by visiting guests?
Have you recently seen any debris floating in the ocean water or on the beaches?

Tourist Questionnaire
Rate the environmental state of the coastal regions that you visited
Did you drop or dispose of any litter in the beaches or water during your stay? If yes, what was the amount and type of litter?
Do you think the environmental authorities are taking adequate measures to protect the coastal environment?
Are there adequate material disposal containers?

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