"The Darker Thrills of Ecotourism"

"For many people, ecotourism evokes a picnic in Muir Woods in California, perhaps, or counting endangered sea turtles on a Costa Rican beach or spending the night in a tree house with gibbons in Laos. Andrew Blackwell, a Brooklyn-based author and journalist, sees it differently. His idea of an interesting trip is less about beauty than environmental devastation."

"Taking the idea to an extreme, he set out to chronicle some of the world’s most spoiled places for his book, just released, 'Visit Sunny Chernobyl.'

The journey began several years ago when Mr. Blackwell visited Kanpur, India’s most polluted city. He spent three days slogging through illegal industrial dumps, toxic tanneries, overflowing sewage treatment plants and feces-laden beaches. The experience stuck with him, with his thoughts incessantly returning to that horribly contaminated but 'inscrutably, mystifyingly beautiful' place. An idea began to blossom, and before long he was booking travel to some unusual destinations."

Rachel Nuwer reports for the New York Times June 5, 2012.

Source: Green (NYT), 06/06/2012