ABSTRACT: This paper addresses the social and environmental impact of river rafting industry with special focus on river Ganges. It revolves around, identification and characterisation of the possible impacts on a larger perspective which will provide a better opportunity for the perspective inclusion of the industry in context of the country’s sustainable growth and development. Accordingly by these projections a directional approach can be devised for reducing the adverse impacts and synchronize the project to provide opportunity for the rural destitute. The spatial focus for the study was Kaudiyala – Tapovan Ecotourism Zone on passage to Himalayas along river Ganges, Uttarakhand, India. The focussed information was collected through questionnaire for primary data, from randomly selected individual i.e. local people, primary (camp management) and secondary professionals (local shop owners, employees, etc.) of the industry; likewise some other relevant data were assessed by collecting disclosure of population in groups. Overall, the pertinent discussions encompassed twenty rafting camps, during 2008–2010 and the secondary data from some state agencies. The total camps in the region was around 74 in 2008-09 with camp area of 0.18 million m 2 , which has increased 90 times in last one and half decades. The number of tourists enjoying rafting varies with seasons and comprises 32% foreigners and 68% national. The result indicates that due to improper management and lack of directional approach from state agencies, the potential contribution of the industry remained quiet minimal for socioeconomic development in the remote region. The impact on the local identity and traditional culture though moderate were also apparent and reported by locals. Environmentally, it lacks the monitoring of solid waste management generated from kitchen to defecation within submergence zone. These impacts are discussed in a matrix form with their explanations and elaborations based on field observations.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES. 01/2011; Volume-1(No. 5).