Saturday, July 26, 2008

Reducing the environmental impact of our travels.

Friends have requested me to post WWF guidelines for environmental impact of our travels. I am posting it below.

1. Selecting your destination…

When you travel to your holiday destination by plane you are contributing to significant emissions of climate change causing carbon dioxide.
• Try to take vacations nearer to home, or pick locations that you can reach by other forms of transport.
2. Getting there

•If you have to fly carbon offsets to compensate for the emissions caused by your flight.
•Rather than hiring a car at the airport choose other ways to get around like taxis, trains or buses.
•If you do travel by car turn off your engine when you’re parked, or stuck in traffic. It will save you fuel and reduce emissions.

3. Choosing the right place to stay

•Choose accommodation that have effective waste treatment systems, that recycle, that are energy efficient, and, where possible, that use environmentally friendly energy sources such as solar energy or hydroelectric power.
•Look out for hotels that participate in WWf checkout for nature programme. Participating Hotels will add a Euro (or its equivalent value) to your hotel bill when you check out at the end of your stay, which will be used to support our conservation work around the world.

4. Whilst you are there

•Look at eco-tourism options. Many travel companies now offer holidays which support sustainable development, do not impact negatively on the environment and provide financial support to local communities.
•Respect the environment and stay on trails and public footpaths. Do not remove plants or feed animals, and never litter.
•Conserve water and take showers rather than baths. Use a refillable water container, sterilizing water when necessary rather than buying bottled water.
•Limit energy use, including your use of air-conditioning and hot water. Turn off all lights and taps when you leave hotel rooms.
•Minimize your use of personal care products and detergents to wash linen, and reuse your hotel towels and bed linen.
•Dispose of sanitary waste properly. Don’t flush cotton buds, condoms, tampons and plastics down the toilet, or you might just find them on the beach!
•Recycle newspapers, magazines and your beverage containers (many can be returned for refunds), and reduce the number of bags, napkins and disposable cups you use when you eat fast food.
•Rent a bike. In many places you can rent them out. They are not only environmentally friendly and cheap, but also a great option for sightseeing.
•Take a hike. walking in cities or going on a hike in the countryside is great way to avoid emissions and yet discover some of special things about where you are, things you may otherwise simply "drive by".
•Reduce the impact of your recreational activities by avoiding sports which have a significant harmful impact on the environment, or choose more progressive establishments (e.g. golf courses which recycle water).

5. Coming home…

Some souvenirs could end up costing a lot more than you paid for them.
•Think twice before you buy any products made from any endangered species, including animal hides and body parts, tortoise-shell, ivory, or coral - they could be illegal.
•Visit WWF-US’ buyer beware website for information that can help you say "no" to illegal wildlife products.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Reuse of water bottles- Venice shows the way

A used plastic water bottle thrown away carelessly is a big headache in tourist centres. I came across this new scheme launched in Italy recently. It impressed me with its simplicity and inherent great potential. If implemented properly it is going to be blessing.
Italy has the largest consumption of bottled water in the world. For tourist centers like Venice discarded water bottles is a big bother. Venice has come out with this innovative scheme called 100%public whereby tourists are given an empty water bottle and a map showing 122 fountains that have been installed in the city. The authorities hope that this will solve a major problem for them
Ecolodges congratulates the civic authorities of Venice for this innovative scheme.