New restrictions imposed on travel to St. Martin

St. Martin is the only coral island in the country. The Department of the Environment has issued a public notice declaring the island an ‘ecologically endangered’ area and imposing new restrictions. “Uncontrolled tourism and the unawareness, irresponsibility, and anti-environmental behavior of tourists are on the verge of destruction of St. Martin’s rare environment and biodiversity,” the statement said. Under Section 4 of the Environmental Protection Act 1995 (as amended 2010), the Department has imposed certain restrictions on travel to St. Martin.

The prohibitions are-

– No mechanical or non-mechanical vehicles including bicycles, motorcycles, rickshaws, and vans can be driven on the beach of the island.

– Plastic or any kind of waste cannot be dumped on the beaches, seas, and rivers of the island.

– It is not possible to go south after Konapara on the west beach and south after Galachipa on the east side beach.

– No boat trips around the island.

– You can’t walk on rocks in tidal areas.

– Sea turtles should not be allowed to walk in the laying area, turn on the lights at night and take pictures using flashlights.

– No lights or fires, fireworks, or lanterns can be lit on the beach at night.

– No mic playing, shouting and loud music or bar-b-que partying on the beach.

– Speedboats, country boats, trawlers, or other vessels cannot travel and anchor on Chheradia Island.

– Chheradia Island, acquired by the government for conservation purposes, cannot be visited.

– Corals, snails, oysters, sea turtles, birds, starfish, crabs, seagrass, seaweed, and key fruits cannot be collected and bought, and sold.

– Chips or any other food should not be fed to the birds from the ship.

– Water wastage should be prevented as the amount of potable groundwater on the island is limited.

Above all, everyone, including travelers, must refrain from doing anything that is harmful to St. Martin’s environment. Violation of these prohibitions is a punishable offense, the statement said.

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