Each year, on the 5th of June, people from across the globe come together to commemorate World Environment Day, a platform for action that creates worldwide awareness about the importance of protecting our environment. Each World Environment Day is organized around a pertinent theme that focuses on a pressing environmental concern, and this year’s theme is ‘Beating Plastic Pollution’.
Remaining true to our goal of providing personalized and authentic travel experiences, that have a minimal impact on the planet and a lasting impact on people, we at CAWS have always strived to run a seamless green operation at each of our camps across Malawi, whilst doing our best to conserve the pristine areas of wilderness in which we operate. This World Environment Day, we’d like to share 5 ways in which our camps and community and conservation projects are helping to beat plastic pollution in their day-to-day operations:
#1. Out with the plastic straws and in with the paper straws
At Mvuu Camp and Lodge in Liwonde National Park, we’ve said goodbye to single-use plastic drinking straws and replaced them with paper straws. This small step has proved to be a leap in our overall efforts to reduce and control plastic waste at Mvuu.
#2. Our own refillable shampoo and soap bottles
At Mvuu Camp and Lodge, we present our soaps and shampoos (all of which are bio-degradable) in refillable glass bottles. This way, we don’t have to worry about accumulating unwanted shampoo bottles and liquid soap bottles that are bound to add to our plastic waste.
#3. In-house filtered water over bottled water
At both Mvuu Camp and Chintheche Inn, we’ve installed high-tech water filtration systems that produce perfectly clean, purified and safe drinking water.
At Mvuu, we use state-of-the-art ‘hydration stations’ that consist of 5-micron inline filtration units. The 5-micron units filter and remove 99.9% of all contaminants and foreign particles in the water, including dirt, sand, chlorine, chloramines, VOCs, lead and other heavy metals, cysts and chemicals. The system employed at Chintheche involves a double filtration system where water is filtered once to rid it of all germs and contaminants, and a second time to improve its taste.
The implementation of these systems encourages our guests to refill their own bottles with the in-house filtered water, as opposed to resorting to bottled water. This has helped us to cut-down drastically on our plastic waste at both properties. You can go on a ‘Back of House’ tour at Mvuu Camp to see these systems in action.
#4. Reusing and upcycling plastic and other waste with CITW
We donate a great deal of waste material (old magazines, bottle tops, plastic bottles and bags etc) that we can to the Children in the Wilderness (CITW) programme for their use. CITW facilitates sustainable conservation through the education and leadership development of children across Africa. Through their annual camp regular eco club sessions, the children are engaged with a variety of activities that instill a passion for protecting the environment within them. At some of their club sessions, the CITW kids learn to recycle and upcycle different waste materials into innovative creations. Here’s stylish set of earrings made from old bottle tops and fabric scraps.
#5. Plastic and glass bottles are sent to local schools where they are incorporated into lesson plans
We collect all of our plastic and old glass bottles and give them to the teachers of nearby schools to be used in CITW or general school projects. As an environmental sustainability lesson and exercise, the students use these bottles to come up with different uses for the bottles, turning them into tumblers or pen holders, or they clean up the bottles and use them to store water or other items at home such as salt, tea, oil and sugar.
Other ways we give back to the planet and environment
Initiated by Master Banda and our Children in the Wilderness (CITW) kids, an indigenous nursery was started at Chintheche to provide saplings to communities to begin reforesting their areas. In 2012, we formed a partnership with a Swedish company, Southbound and its owner, Ralf Holmstrom, and formed a tree planting company named Root to Fruit. Root to Fruit is a not-for-profit social enterprise that enables individuals and corporations to offset the carbon emissions from their travels, daily lives and business activities. Since its inception, Root to Fruit has planted over 150,000 trees, which have collectively helped counter climate change, promote reforestation, improve soil erosion and uplift rural communities in Chintheche, northern Malawi.
To link Root to Fruit to our Eco-tourism operation, we launched the TWET (Trees with Every Trip) initiative in 2016. This green initiative enables our guests, agents and all those who travel with us to reduce the environmental impact of their travels. Guests and agents can opt to plant 10 trees for USD 20 or can work with Root to Fruit to calculate and offset the carbon emissions generated from their entire journey. All seedlings will be monitored and planted in a dedicated tree nursery, which will be run by Root to Fruit at Chintheche Inn (Central African Wilderness Safaris’ lakeshore property). Click here to offset now or click here for more information.
About Central African Wilderness Safaris:
Central African Wilderness Safaris (CAWS) offers the finest quality safari experience in Malawi that enable travellers to enjoy the ultimate holiday getaway in the warm heart of Africa. CAWS offers both up-market tailor-made luxury safaris as well as more affordable budget safari options. The company is dedicated to offering personalized and authentic travel experiences that have a minimal impact on the planet and a lasting impact on people.
Photo Credits: Wayne Range, Ian De Heygere, Symon Chibaka & Juliet Lemon
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