Be mindful of negative impact of eco-tours on nature

It is an encouraging sign that more nature appreciation tours are being offered by firms and organisations ("Nature beckons"; Oct 30).

Besides offering opportunities for Singaporeans to experience a different side of the urbanised city-state, there are a few more benefits arising from this blossoming of eco-tours.

First, as these eco-tours are made more accessible, there will be more avenues of recreation available for Singaporeans in the midst of their hectic and fast-paced life.

Studies have shown that engagement with nature delivers not only physical but also mental health benefits, including stress alleviation.

Second, these tours show how urbanisation can coexist with natural preservation. They also demonstrate how it is possible for urban planners to prioritise natural preservation in the urbanisation process, thereby enhancing Singapore's image and reputation as a garden city.

Riding upon the increasing provision of such eco-tours and their associated boons, it would be highly beneficial for education institutes to incorporate them as part of their holistic curricula.

Dovetailing such experiential learning platforms into the curriculum would give young Singaporeans the opportunity to apply what they have learnt in the classroom.

Furthermore, having such memorable experiences with their peers helps to instil a collective sense of responsibility towards the environment.

However, the Government should also be mindful of the increasing trend of such eco-tours, as excessive human activities can affect animal movements or result in the trampling on of endangered plant saplings.

Certain regulations such as a cap on the frequency of such eco-tours should be put in place, preventing potential negative impact brought to flora and fauna by human activities.

Li Jia-Yin (Miss)