May 3rd, 2012
As reported by BBC, plastic water bottle waste is a growing problem around the world and tourism is largely to blame. While traveling abroad, individuals tend to leave their reusable bottle at home and use as many five to six plastic water bottles a day.
Plastic bottles, made of petroleum-based plastic (a non-biodegradable material), are accumulating everywhere- our streets, parks, beaches, rivers, and oceans. This contributes to the existing problem of floating plastic debris in the pacific ocean known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
In effort to combat the plastic waste dilemma, some tourism destinations have “banned the bottle”. In 2010, Italy’s Cinque Terre national park, located along the beautiful Mediterranean coast, banned plastic water bottles. Early this year, the US National Park Service banned the sale of plastic water bottles at Grand Canyon National Park where bottles accounted for 20% of the park’s waste.
Franco Bonanini, president of Italy’s Cinque Terre national park, told London’s Telegraph newspaper 3 million annual tourists are responsible for the park’s waste. “With so many visitors, the footpaths and villages of the Cinque Terre are at risk of being transformed into a great big open-air dustbin,” he said.
Pictured is a water refilling station at Grand Canyon National Park
What you can do
Here are 5 easy steps to reduce your plastic footprint while abroad:
1. Carry your own reusable bottle. Fill it up with fresh water whenever you can.
2. Some eco-friendly hotels offer water-filling stations. If not, some hotels may be willing to boil water for you on request. Check to see what your hotel has to offer.
4. Buy big water containers to keep in your hotel room and refill your bottles. That way you’ll only use one water bottle rather than 5 to 6 a day.
5. You can even treat tap water with your own purification device. Lightweight devices, such as ultraviolet light purifiers, don’t leave an aftertaste.
Happy travels! : )