Wilderness reduces plastic water bottle use

21st June 2018
Plastic bottle Source:The Midweek Sun


By Keikantse Lesemela - Reporter

In its attempts to reduce plastic water bottle usage and promote environmental conservation in Botswana, Wilderness Safaris Botswana achieved its target of 76 percent reduction on plastic bottle usage in 2017.

The company has been awarded the winner of National Energy Globe Award Botswana for its innovation in wastewater management and water conservation through the reduction of plastic water bottles. In 2012, the company identified plastic water bottle usage as a challenge that needed to be addressed due to the effects of production and disposal of plastic bottles, as well as the carbon emissions and cost of distributing the water into and out of camps, which are located in remote wilderness areas.

An initial five-year water conservation strategy was launched that year, with a key target to reduce the group’s bottled water usage per guest bednight to a group average of 0.8 litres by the end of the 2017 financial year. Wilderness Safaris Botswana Environmental Manager, Segametsi Monnamorwa said since the start of the project, they managed to bring down the total number of the plastic 500 ml water bottles used in Botswana camps from 128 870 in 2012 to 42 966 in 2018.

“Not only were we delighted to hit our first target at the end of 2017, we have since achieved a total reduction of 76 percent across the Wilderness Group, with an average of 0.5 litres per bednight as of 2018. As the leaders in authentic and sustainable ecotourism we are constantly thinking of ways in which we can minimise impact produced by waste,” said Monnamorwa.

In addition to the Bottled Water Strategy, they have also renewed their efforts on effective waste separation at all camps, going to great lengths to ensure that recyclable materials, including plastic, are recycled and not placed in a landfill. “We have also just launched an active campaign in Botswana to reduce the use of packaging and plastic wrap across all camps, sourcing locally-produced fresh produce wherever possible and setting up agreements with suppliers to recycle and reuse packaging material; and most recently banning the use of plastic straws,” said Morwamonna.

The Energy Globe Awards were founded in 1999 by Austrian energy pioneer Wolfgang Neumann and are today considered one of the world’s most prestigious environmental awards.

The programme is under the patronage of UNESCO and is conducted in cooperation with UNEP. This year, more than 2 000 entries were received from 182 countries, each of which was evaluated by high-profile experts from the Energy Globe evaluation committee. Meanwhile the government of Botswana recently announced the ban on the use of plastic carrier bags to curb environmental pollution.

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