Seychelles efforts for a sustainable destination in the forefront
The destination joins the rest of the world to celebrate world environment day, a time us to reflect on sustainable tourism and how Seychelles as a destination is actively advocating for natural conservation.
As Seychelles took home the award for the Indian Ocean’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination 2019 at the 26th Edition of the World Travel Awards (WTA) held at the Sugar Beach- A Sun Resort in Mauritius on Saturday June 1, 2019.
Seychelles is one of those countries on the planet that is most reliant on tourism and fully realise the need to behave in such a way that its many resources are not squandered over the short term, but rather, used wisely so that they remain available for future generations of Seychellois.
At the forefront of keeping Seychelles sustainable is our very own Ministry of the Environment and its plans for waste management with the specific aim of reducing the amount of waste going into the landfill, which produces unwanted greenhouse gases, consumes scarce land and releases dangerous leachate into the environment.
The initiative towards developing a recycling system for PET and aluminium cans which started in 2008 is still ongoing and being sustained by importation and environmental levies. A glass bottle recycling system is also being implemented and has taken effect during 2018.
Additional restrictions are also being applied to the manufacture, trade and distribution of domestically produced and imported plastic bags of under 30 micrometres thickness.
In 2017, the Ministry of Environment banned the use of manufacturing and sale of plastic, Styrofoam boxes and plastic utensils, rather promoting the use of paper boxes, reusable bags and other biodegradable substitutes. The government is working on setting up a waste-sorting centre to sort different types of waste for exportation.
Most recently, Plastic straw importation has been banned as of Friday, 1 February 2019. The sale, use, manufacturing, and processing of plastic straws ban has been reinforced as of 1 June 2019.
In order to benefit from the latest research, the Seychelles Ministry of Environment has been collaborating with different universities and also the World Bank and European Union to gather information about waste management in Seychelles and the development of a sustainable, 10-year waste management plan, which includes a waste-characterisation study and students’ exchange programme.
The ministry is also behind a composting programme where green waste will go to the landfill and also an education and awareness programme about effective waste management and waste sorting.
Meanwhile, the Seychelles Blue Bond Project which was presented at the recent Economist World Ocean Summit in Bali and which has already been awarded with the 2017 Ocean Innovation Challenge. It involves the government issuing a blue bond valued at $15 million over 10 years with guarantees from the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility to support the transition to sustainable fisheries.
The need for sustainability also underpins Seychelles’ exploration of the ocean for biotechnology as well as its research into alternative forms of energy such as that provided by, for example, wave power or solar farms, to lessen the load on imported and increasingly expensive forms of power production.
However, sustainability’s lowest common denominator remains the manner in which we each make a concerted effort to lessen our footprint on the planet and to consume its resources in ways that will make them available to future generations of Seychellois and tourists alike. It is when, as individuals, we truly begin to change our habits to take into consideration the broader, long term, needs of our environment and communities that we most favourably affect our prospects of success.
“As we commemorated World Environment Day on June 5, and looking at celebrating World Ocean Day on June 8, it is important we remember that our immaculate environment is the reason Seychelles is considered one of the best destination around the world. It is great to see that our government alongside the NGOs and the public remain focus on ecological measures. Our legacy to the younger generations has to be at the level of what our forefathers left for us,” said Mrs. Francis.
Article written with the collaboration of Glynn Burridge / TOURISM CONSULTANT / COPYWRITER, SEYCHELLES TOURISM BOARD