The Golden Rule of Ecotourism: Cleanup after Yourself

April 14, 2014 at 9:57 pm Leave a comment

Trekking Kilimanjaro has been romanticized by the likes of Hemingway and developed a mystique with travelers the world over, but there is another side to this snowcapped wonder of the world – a man-made side – a side that impacts the mountain in very visible and preventable ways.

The Chore of Every Climber

On average, trekking Kilimanjaro to the summit takes one tourist, two porters, and one guide. Three people to every tourist creates a cycle of negative impact on the mountain. It comes in the form of a solid waste management (SWM) problem.

Studies within the Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania have found that tourism at the site has flourished, but this fact leaves behind evidence from almost every climb that has been completed over the past few years. Generating trash isn’t the only problem. The increase in tonnage of solid waste has created challenges in collection and disposal, so much so that the government has issued an initiative to clean up Kilimanjaro.

The policies not only look at the amount of trash left behind by climbers, they also address the problems of pollution and man-made soil erosion. To successfully address the sustainability of trekking Kilimanjaro means changing our ways before areas of this international treasure are closed off forever. To successfully complete this objective, the government needs help from every tourist, porter, and guide.

There are simple things that everyone can do to break patterns, develop new habits, and raise awareness about the extent of ecotourism.

Trash-In, Trash-out

The easiest way to remember your ecological role while trekking Kilimanjaro is to remind yourself that everything you bring up the mountain goes with you when you descend it.

This greatly reduces adding to waste tonnage that is already on the mountain. Some tour companies are taking efforts even further and asking groups to participate in the cleanup effort as part of their climb(s). Tourists can take extra waste with them when they go.

In addition to these simple steps, the government requests that campfires be limited and trail transfers be completed to minimize soil erosion from continuous climbing. The hope is that with better management and trail rotation, we can turn a negative into a positive. We’ve seen sustainable tourism work for the benefit of local communities. It is now time to extend that efficacy to the tourism sites themselves.

Things are starting to turn around on different sections of the mountain. Since the initiative was put in place, improvements in waste management as high as 94% have been noted in some areas, but we still have work to do. Zara Tours is joining in the cleanup effort and already practices under the trash-in trash-out policy.

Find out more about how you can join this effort and the impact that you can have on this problem from where you are sitting right now. All you need to do is visit our website for information on upcoming efforts and chances to donate to a worthy cause. Help us clean and sustain Kilimanjaro for future treks!

Make a Difference in Tanzania with Zara Tours

 

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Entry filed under: Kilimanjaro Trips, Mt. Kilimanjaro, ZARA & Environmental Care, ZARA & Social Responsibility, Zara Charity. Tags: , , , .

ZARA TOURS Hosts Special Mt. Kilimanjaro Clean-Up Climb Two Signature Trips, One Unique Tanzania Adventure

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