By Gitta Paetzold
TOURISM is everybody’s business and as such everyone plays a role in determining the success of this industry.
At the same time, the success of tourism depends heavily on the pristine, beautiful and well conserved environment, one of the strongest pillars on which the tourism product is marketed and sold.
The partnership between tourism, (through HAN and FENATA), Eco Awards Alliance and Recycle Namibia Forum, with a Cleaner Namibia as ultimate aim, was a natural result of shared commitment to Namibia as home for us as Namibians and as preferred destination for the regional and international traveling community.
While all Namibians have, through the call by President Hage Geingob, been called upon to join hands in cleaning Namibia, with Africa Day, 25 May, dedicated to this cause, the “Cleaner Namibia” team through Recycle Namibia Forum, Eco Awards Alliance and HAN/FENATA, this time in partnership with TOSCO (Tourism supporting Conservation) is mobilizing the tourism industry for a concerted effort to rid our environment of waste on 25 May.
All tourism service providers, operators, tour guides, and even the traveling tourists on busses and coaches will be encouraged to lend a hand to this cause, by simply “picking up where you are” and where possible, separating recyclables from the general waste. We strongly believe, that if everyone only cleans around his own area, Namibia will already be a different and better place.
TOSCO has clinched a deal with Plastic Packaging for this initiative and will be able to equip all tour guides and coach drivers with plastic bags and gloves to assist in the waste collection efforts on 25 May and beyond.
As part of our initiative, a working group has met to engage large corporates and suppliers on ways to assist in transporting recyclable material back from remote areas on return trips from delivering supplies to those areas.
As third component, Recycle Namibia Forum has solicited the support of a number of its members to set up strategic “waste collection / pick up points”, to which tour guides and travelers, as well as remote lodges and other businesses will be encouraged to bring their collected waste materials.
This concerted initiative is part of a larger waste management awareness campaign that the “Cleaner Namibia” team has committed to, as we believe that consumer awareness and education is the most important component of our Cleaner Namibia campaign.
While often blame is given on the product, such as plastic bags, straws and other waste material, the problem mainly lies with how these commodities are being used, hence the consumer determines the fate of such material. True to the motto of “reduce, re-use and recycle” Cleaner Namibia wishes to call upon everyone, Namibians and visitors alike, to give thorough consideration to the use of one-way plastic bottles, the use of plastic straws, there are practical alternatives and the tourism industry and all its partners are working hard to achieve a change of mind and change of habit among the tourism fraternity. We know many of our tour operators and lodges already go the extra mile to reduce waste. One such example are guides who pack recyclable lunch pack containers and cutlery, in order to reduce extra waste, such as Styrofoam packaging. We would like to challenge everyone to share their initiatives, ideally with photos!
And lastly, by promoting recycle stations, we are hoping to make all consumers aware of the possibility of managing Namibia’s waste in a more sustainable way and to contribute to efforts by recycling companies to add value to the waste, as this process holds employment and income opportunities for Namibians. We are hoping that by such joint initiatives, Namibians will find renewed passion and commitment to their homeland, Namibia, and to help us make Namibia the clean and beautiful smile on the face of Africa on Africa Day, and beyond!
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015