HOW SUSTAINABLE TOURS CAN COMBAT PLASTIC POLLUTION IN THE MALDIVES
Following on from part one of Plastic Pollution, Marine Life and Sustainable Tourism with Secret Paradise Maldives we wanted to highlight some of the initiatives recently implemented by our accommodation partners on local islands.
All of our guesthouse accommodation is carefully selected to provide a balance of comfort, service, local atmosphere and value for money, as well as ensuring each property shares our values for responsible tourism and sustainability. So we are always delighted to see guesthouse partners coming together with tourists and local communities to make a difference.
Guraidhoo is another forward thinking island with exciting eco initiatives introduced this year (2019). Their band new NO PLASTIC program has been introduced on the island and is being very well received by locals and visiting tourists. They knew when setting this up that the only way this would work is to involve all the community in the efforts including the local island children, local school, teachers, parents, Island council members, guesthouses, dive center, watersports center and the local island community.
They completed their first island clean up last month and collected a massive 1700kg of plastic; what amazing results – which ultimately will have a positive impact on our environment and the local island children’s futures, thanks guy and keep up the great work.
Guraidhoo Palm Inn our partner here have pledged to remove plastic drinking water bottles which is also forms part of our initiative in 2019 .
TME Retreat another property partner of Secret Paradise is taking the sustainable opportunities to a whole new level and as part of the #Earthday2019 celebrations they announced that TME Retreats will be producing its own water at Dhigurah. The water will be distributed to all the guests in refillable glass bottles and all guests will be able to fill their glass bottles from the water dispenser at the lobby free of charge.
Barefoot Eco Hotel
The Barefoot Eco Hotel on Hanimaadhoo island has always followed the principles of eco-sustainability and conservation of the environment; that’s why we have always loved working with them. They actively educate their guests in reducing their eco footprint, their initiatives include:
- Paper bio-degradable straws instead of plastic straws
- Aluminium cans instead of plastic bottles
- Reusable Aluminium bottles for senior staff
- Yogurt served in ceramic cups instead of single use plastic containers
- No more plastic bags: only juta or fabric bags
- No more plastic sachets of coffee: Coffee now comes in paper bags
But how do you make a difference as a tourist when travelling abroad?
Most individuals are now trying to do their bit in the war against single use plastic particularly, but how can you continue your positive actions when travelling and at the mercy of the people and places visited?
Bring your own shopping bag
In the not so distant past here in the Maldives, every shop you made a purchase in, you were given a blue plastic bag. This is starting to be addressed but make life a little easier for the shop keepers and bring your own re-useable bag and say no to these wasted items.
Say no to single-use plastic straws
If you are buying a drink in a café or bar say no to the plastic straw. We would love to give kudos to the places you visit who are embracing this so make sure you take a snap and #strawwasMV.
Bring your own water bottle
When you are travelling especially in the heat, you must stay hydrated but you don’t need to keep purchasing single use plastic bottles, ask a local café or bar to refill your water bottle. The local accommodation you stay in will be sure to assist you.
Choose plastic-free destinations
If you are really serious about reducing your carbon footprint then choose destinations and places where they are taking the sustainable approach seriously. Reward those businesses who are committed to making a difference in their environment, like the ones we mentioned above.
Participate in cleanups
Our team of tour guides regularly participant in beach clean ups with local island residents and we encourage our guests to join us too. It is a fantastic way to meet the local community and also make a massive difference to the amount of plastic waste in the ocean.
Spread the word
Don’t be shy, let people know what you are doing, if everyone takes small steps daily together we will make a huge difference. We need to create awareness and let people know what do to and how to do it.
If you want your holiday to make a real difference why not think about a volunteer based visit, we offer volunteer trips with our partner Sunshade Maldives as well as a 14 night island hopping volunteer tour.