A Study for Sustainability of Tourism in Yakushima Island: Compatibility between Tourism and Environmental Convervation Concering Human Waste Issues

By Ryouho Maeda, Shuichi Tamura and Robert Marek.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 6, 2014 $US5.00

Yakushima Island has been a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site since 1993. Over 300,000 people visit Yakushima Island each year and over 100,000 of these visitors travel into mountain areas. The remote area where the Jomon Cedar Tree grows does not have restrooms although visited by many tourists. A restroom available to tourists is located at Ookabu-hodo, which is approximately 120 minutes away from the Jomon Cedar Tree area. This bathroom is large enough for tourists and a railway track connects Ookabu-hodo to the outer slope of the mountains. The closest bathroom is located near the Takatsuka hut; however, it is in the opposite direction from the starting point of the Jomon Cedar Tree trail, and tourists must climb a steep slope to reach it. The bathroom is too small to accommodate the large number of tourists. Human wastes are manually removed from the bathroom. In the past, human wastes were buried nearby under the soil. The pollution caused by the improper waste management became a threat to natural resources in the area. To create a sustainable scenario in which tourism and environmental conservation are compatible, the present study proposes a comprehensive framework for a self-sustaining tourism management system by: 1. Installing composting toilets and pit toilets in locations which are accessible to the Jomon Cedar Tree area. Micro hydroelectric generators for composting toilets will be set up to supply electricity. 2. A tourist entry fee for Yakushima Island will be established to pay for the maintenance of the system. The system will include hired personnel to operate and maintain toilets and generators. The plan includes estimated capital costs to install the system equipment and maintenance costs. Regulations for limited entry to the area will be established to control the number of people entering the area.

Keywords: Compatibility of Tourism and Environmental Conservation, Self-sustaining Tourism Management

The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, Volume 9, Issue 2, March 2014, pp.139-152. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 6, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 675.396KB)).

Ryouho Maeda

Section Chief, Manufacturing Division, Kyoei-Sheetmetal Works Corp., Fuji coop 202 Idaka dai 202 Meitou-ku Nagoya, Japan

I was born and raised in Yakushima Island, which is well known as an UNESCO World Natural Heritage. I am so proud of my birthplace, however, I also have been concerned about the recent environmental damage by tourists to my hometown. I'd like to pursue a solution so that both tourism and environmental conservation will be compatible.

Shuichi Tamura

Doctoral Student, Faculty of Environmental and Information Sciences, Yokohama National University, Yokohama, Kanagawa-Prefecture, Japan

Robert Marek

branch head, Public Works Department, U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command Far East, Sasebo, Japan