Mach Fichu was discovered in 1911 by Hiram Birmingham after he was lead up there by a Peruvian guide. The invading Spanish never discovered Mach Fichu, which helped preserve and keep the site isolated for many centuries. However, today Mach Fichu is far from isolated with hundreds of thousands of people visiting the ruins every year. Naturally, this puts pressure on the ancient city, but what pressures is Mach Fichu put under? In 2001, Mach Fichu became a wonder of the modern world, sharply increasing visitor numbers.
In 1 980 there were roughly 1 50,000 suitors yet in 2009 there were approximately 850,000 visitors (see figure B). Up to 2,000 people visit the ruins every single day, with the vast majority being foreign visitors. The number of visitors reached a historic high in 2008, with 858,211 people visiting Mach Fichu. These high numbers of visitors put a strain on local resources. Tourist’s feet are slowly eroding away the ancient site and the Inca Trail, as well as cutting down timber for fuel.
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This loss of trees increases erosion by rain and often leads to landslides in the area. The high tourist numbers can also be a good thing. Its providing jobs for any local people, but the jobs are not usually well paid. With the increase of people in the area, local property values and the prices of goods increase. Local people can’t afford to pay the entrance fee and enjoy one of their country’s greatest treasures! In fact, money made from tourism does not usually stay in Peru, but goes to the countries where the tourist companies are based.
As Mach Fichu gained popularity, helicopters began to bring in tourists, which pollutes the area and disturbs the peaceful qualities of the site. As Mach Fichu has been put under pressure, there is the growing issue f being environmentally friendly and dealing with waste. More and more sewage is being pumped into the Aruba River and litter is often dropped in the valley below. I think that although the site is beautiful, people definitely deserve to see it, and that tourism does provide jobs, Mach Fichu is currently being put under too much pressure.
An issue surrounding Mach Fichu is sustainable development. Sustainable development is “development that meets the needs Of the present without compromising the ability Of future generations to meet their own needs. ” According to KIDS (International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2014). What this means is that the site needs to be developed in such a way that it meets the current needs but allows for future generations to meet their own needs. For example, imagine a village near a forest, where people go to get timber.
Fifthly cut down 3 trees a week, but don’t plant any, there will be none left for the future generations. However, if they plant 2 new saplings for every single tree they cut down and limit the amount of trees they can cut down in a week, there will be trees there for future generations. This way the current generation can get what hey need, but also don’t stop the future generation from getting what they need. So this raises the question, is Mach Fichu actually being managed sustainable? I think that Mach Fichu is not being managed sustainable.
Concerns have been raised about the environment due to logging, ‘commercial’ plant collection, logging, poor waste management, poaching, introduced species and water pollution from not only urban waste but from chemicals in the Aruba River, as well as pressures from broader development in this region. However, it is important to remember that the action is in a high altitude with an extreme environment and terrain, as well as bad weather conditions, making it more prone to natural disasters which could make things more difficult. However, there is a very high potential to restore degraded areas.
All these concerns require new, long-term solutions in order for the site to be managed sustainable. Currently, Mach Fichu is being abused by the sheer number of tourists entering the site annually. If this rise in tourists increases and solutions for concerns raised aren’t created then Mach Fichu will not be the same for future generations, and may not e there for them to enjoy. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) threatened to take away Mach Fichu’s place on the World Heritage Sites list; however it still remains on the list.
UNESCO has identified many problems with Mach Fichu and is also raising concerns with the site. In the future, helicopters could be banned to help reduce pollution in the area and help preserve the quiet nature of the site. The issue of waste could be fixed, helping to preserve the Aruba River and reduce water pollution. Prices for both goods and properties could be fixed to a certain, elastic price to try and help the local people.