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Environmental sins – mindfulness on vacation

June 5, 2017 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

More and more people care about the environment and try to act accordingly in their daily life: waste separation is almost standard and cloth bags are popular again – especially since the number of countries that prohibit free plastic bags increases.When enjoying a walk through nature unfortunately the eye spots some environmental sins – most of them might arise from ignorance or unmindfulness of the consequences. Green Pearls® did some research and hints out some common problems and their bad effects but also two model examples on how to do it right.



Biodegradable waste is also waste

By thinking that they are biodegradable, fruit residues are often thrown into nature. While this is no big deal for apple cores, the peels of tropical and subtropical fruits need up to several years to really rot – depending on the climate conditions. The best example for a fruit peel that should not be tossed into the nature, is the banana peel: depending on temperature, air humidity and some other factors it takes up to five years for the peel to decay. Even though this is rather an aesthetic problem, it is way too long to simply leave the waste behind.

Harmless tissues?

Especially hiking enthusiasts notice the paper tissues that lie off the beaten tracks in the bushes and were probably misused for the „natural toilet“. Most paper tissues are made by using chemicals like chlorine that is also released into the environment during the biodegradation process. The „new generation“ of paper tissues is even coated with a wet strength agent to make it more stable when exposed to water. Additionally, they also need between three and six months to rot (again depending on the climate conditions).

Problem case cigarettes

Cigarette butts make up for a major proportion of the carelessly thrown away waste; estimated 4.5 trillion butts find their way onto streets and meadows. The negative consequences for the environment are growing – and it’s not only about the long duration of the degradation of the cigarette filters that are made out of cellulose acetate. Even worse is that a lot of toxins accumulate in the filters and find their way into nature. Experiments show that one single cigarette per liter water is enough to kill half of the fish population living there.

Best practise on the Maldives

On islands like the Maldives the waste topic is a severe problem and requires sophisticated solutions. The Reethi Beach Resort acts in an exemplary manner as it sorts and crushes its waste before it is send away to be recycled. But the resort doesn’t stop here, by avoiding waste it tackles the problem from the ground up. One example: use of reusable glass bottles for the drinking water and, with that, save more than 400 PET bottles every day.

Environment heroes in Thailand

To remove the existing and reduce future disposal is the mission of the trash heroes in Thailand. Thereby the most important rule is: every trash hero removes waste whenever he or she sees it, it doesn’t matter where, when or how much it is. To make their work sustainable, they also initiate educational projects in schools to raise awareness among children and help cities and communities with waste management and future waste reduction.

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