Water is one of life’s essentials, but plastic drinking bottles are becoming a major environmental problem all around the world.
Here in Belize, Chaa Creek is doing something to help.
Travellers concerned about the environment and wish to be part of the growing trend towards ethical travel have been asked to consider how they use one of life’s essentials while abroad – water.
According to Miguel Choco, an experienced naturalist guide at Belize’s the Lodge at Chaa Creek, the use of disposable plastic water bottles is becoming a major environmental hazard.
Mr Choco recently said, “One of the issues guides constantly face is water. Visitors need constant supplies of fresh drinking water, but at the same time, plastic water bottles are becoming an environmental nightmare all around the world.
“If you’ve ever canoed down a pristine river or visited a beautiful Maya temple in the rainforest, and saw empty plastic bottles lying around, you know what we mean. It’s a growing problem worldwide, but one that can be mitigated with a little foresight.”
Mr Choco said that Chaa Creek has been addressing the problem for some time now, and is offering water tips for travellers.
“Here at Chaa Creek we produce our own drinking water using state-of-the-art filtration systems. We then give our guests souvenir aluminium water bottles that they can fill at no cost at the various filling stations around the resort.
“This way they’re ensured a supply of clean, safe drinking water when they’re here or out on tours and don’t need to purchase the plastic bottles. We do sell the plastic bottles for those guests who feel better using them, but we find that most people prefer to take the eco-route and use ours,” he said.
“Chaa Creek used to make a profit selling bottled water, but the owners decided to instead spend money on a free system that protects the environment as well as the health of our guests. It was a move all of the guides applauded,” he added.
Mr Choco said that for travellers who don’t have the Chaa Creek option, new technology has produced easy to carry, safe solutions.
He suggested travellers check out products such as the Lifestraw, which costs around $30 and used by various aid organisations and militaries, and the Steripen, which is more expensive and uses UV light to kill any bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Both are available online and from a range of suppliers.
“People should also ask if safe water is available when making holiday bookings. More eco resorts are following our lead and supplying safe water. Then it’s a matter of packing a non-disposable water bottle,” he said.
Mr Choco said other considerations are to buy soft drinks in recyclable glass bottles and drinking teas and coffee in restaurants.
“We just want to make people aware that the negative impact of plastic drinking water bottles is even worse in developing countries than it is back home. But the good news is that with a little foresight they can alleviate the problem and feel even better about their vacations,” Mr Choco said.