Singapore might not ne known for being an eco-friendly. Its carbon footprint, with its giant a/c malls and permanent construction work, is quite heavy.
However Singapore is trying hard to counterbalance some of these negative effects – with an efficient subway system, more buses (when will they be green tough?), and a toll road to get into the City …whose price just doubled in January.
Singapore also got this interesting idea: Semakau island – a waste island transformed into a eco-tourism site >..
A nature haven has blossomed in an unlikely location barely a 20-minute ferry ride from the mainland of the land-scarce city-state, whose economic success and rapid modernisation generates a massive amount of waste daily.
The 350-hectare (865-acre) offshore landfill, comprising two natural islets connected by a rock embankment, can hold 63 million cubic metres (81.9 million cubic yards) of rubbish, enough to accommodate Singapore’s landfill needs until 2045.
Thanks to the work of scientists, planners, engineers and environmentalists, a rich variety of flora and fauna is surviving on the island, including 55 species of birds like the endangered great-billed heron.
Recent private surveys on Semakau’s relatively unexplored marine life have also yielded exciting discoveries including a vast meadow of rare tape seagrass, giant barramundi cod and even reported sightings of black-tipped sharks.
“Semakau’s marine life is amazingly rich… some parts of it are so rare that it can no longer be found elsewhere in Singapore,” Ria Tan, who owns a popular nature website, Wild Singapore, said.
Worries of animals feeding on the refuse are unfounded, as more than 80 percent of the waste consists of inorganic matter, and is unlikely to attract any preying animals, according to the landfill’s general manager, Ong Chong Peng.
“We had this concept to build a pretty unique landfill, yet at the same time ensure that the eco-system remains preserved and protected,” Ong told AFP during a visit to the island.
To ensure that the surrounding areas stay pollution-free, Ong and his team of 100 staff employ compactors and bulldozers to level the waste after it is dumped into landfill cells lined with a thick plastic membrane. The cells are then topped off with fertile soil.
Two mangrove plantations were also replanted next to the landfills, serving as biological indicators should there be any leaks of harmful waste into the sea, Ong said.
“The basic premise of our operations was creating an island from the sea, by dumping waste,” said the landfill’s operations manager, Loo Eng Por, who has been working on the island since it began operations in 1999.
The idea of having a tourist attraction made from garbage was recently mooted by Minister of Environment and Water Resources Yacoob Ibrahim, who sees Semakau as an example of how refuse and conservation can co-exist.
Mr Tan, who is also an associate member of one such group engaging in biodiversity research, organises hour-long nature tours of the island’s extensive seagrass clusters and wildlife-teeming mangroves. “We try to keep (the walks) short, sweet and pleasant… You’ll never know whether urbanites like Singaporeans will enjoy them or not, but I’m pretty sure nature lovers will,” she said confidently.
But Ho Hua Chew, an avid bird-watcher with another interest group permitted to travel to the island, sounded a word of caution. “The bigger the landfill, the lesser the indigenous animals and inter-tidal marine life… we mustn’t extend the idea that landfills are good for biodiversity,” Ho said between hopeful peeks through his binoculars.
So who knows , that might be great idea promoting both an efficient waste management and exo-tourism in a city like Singapore
Our hotels are consumers of energy as they are hosting guests 24 hours a day.
Fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas, are all sources of energy for our businesses and our communities. When they burn they produce carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
To cut down on the amount of fossil fuels used, our hotels invest in energy-efficient products and offer environmentally friendly alternatives for our guests. Our hotels are also exploring more sustainable sources of power, such as solar and wind power, as well as biofuels.
Recycling helps to conserve resources and energy.
It’s important to think about the environmental impact of materials over their whole lifecycle: whether they are from a sustainable source, how they are gathered, processed and transported and whether they can be recycled and used again.
Making something from recycled material creates less pollution and uses less energy. It also helps to conserve resources and reduce what is sent to landfill.
Our hotels will look to reuse or recycle wherever possible.
Water is a precious resource so hotels need to manage the effect they have on local supply.
The answer is a combination of good operating practices and investment in low flow technologies and equipment.
These measures need not affect the quality of the guest experience or be expensive. For example, water-efficient showerheads and toilets save water without compromising performance, while rainwater can be collected and replace tap water for watering hotel grounds.
Hotels don’t exist in a vacuum. They should be sited, designed, built and operated in a responsible way.
It is vital that hotels respect and work with their local communities.
Destination conservation is about initiatives that help to root hotels in their local community – its environment, culture, heritage and the well-being of its citizens.
A year ago, I’ve been with my family to a great small place on the shore in Tulum, Caribean, Mexico.
It was spring break 07 .
10 casitas along the shore, a yoga studio, and a perfect host, Roberto.
Of course, no electricity during the day, only few hours at night, a perfect taste of paradise.
Every morning a breakfast with the other guests, time to enjoy the day. Roberto is living in his own casita in the center of the lodge and take care of your well being with a perfect smile.
“April 28, 2008, United Nations, UNWTO, is actively supporting African destinations which have the capacity to renew their tourism development after having recently suffered from internal crisis.
Among other activities, the Organization has agreed to convene a major Conference in September 2008 for investors, tourism stakeholders and airlines, in order to raise the awareness on the opportunities in this sector. This gathering will also include parliamentarians and local authorities and count on the support of international experts.
Further activities will range from supporting marketing efforts in foreign tourism markets, advancing UNWTO’s ST-EP Initiative (Sustainable Tourism – Elimination of Poverty), as well as facilitating the full reintegration of Côte d’Ivoire in the global tourism community and its return to an important role within UNWTO. The Organization will offer similar support to Mauritania.
We are focused on the ecology, the environment and the people, so the color “Green” was a natural fit for us …
The -ty is a great concept. Very hot at the moment in fact. Walking in Singapore last week-end, I saw a big ad downtown on the new brand of LG … Viewty … definitely, the -ty names are Hot !
And it reminds me always of the Mutiny of the Bounty and the “back to nature” life that followed ….
So here is the explanation for Greenty !
It is always interesting to have a good look at your travel providers …we encourage you to check if your eco-resort, green hotel or nature tour do provide some good answers to the following key questions:
How do you conserve resources?
It’s easy to request that guests reuse towels; hotels taking water conservation a step further irrigate lawns and gardens with gray water (from bath and laundry sources) rather than fresh water. Guests should be encouraged to walk, ride bicycles, and take advantage of public transportation and energy-efficient vehicles such as hybrids. Renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, are good signs, as is the separating of trash and composting. Whenever possible, buildings should be constructed with recycled materials and timber from renewable sources. Disposable items are best avoided.
How do you protect plants and animals?
Pedestrians and cyclists should stay on trails, and vehicles on roads. If your guide hacks up trees for firewood or your group disturbs wildlife and doesn’t back off, something’s wrong. Outside of qualified breeding programs, wild animals are never to be caged.
What do you do to help the community?
Not every company will be locally owned and operated, but outfitters and lodges should at least hire local staff. Beyond jobs, many operations emphasize charity. The owners of Lapa Rios, a five-leaf eco-lodge in Costa Rica, helped build a school in a rural area that lacked electricity and phones, while Guerba, a U.K.-based tour company, has raised more than $64,000 for homeless kids in Tanzania. When it’s time to eat, look for restaurants selling regional, organic food.
What ecotourism activities do you offer?
One of the best things an eco-resort can do is impart awareness to guests. Snorkeling above coral reefs, hiking in rain forests, and rafting in remote rivers can be both thrilling and educational. Shopping excursions should focus on goods made locally, ideally with opportunities to learn about workers’ lives and culture. And of course, activities ought to be respectful and avoid damaging the environment. Cooking with lightweight gas stoves causes less harm than using campfires. If you do light a campfire, always set it up in an established fire pit or ring. When you’re snorkeling, never touch the coral. Optimally, you’ll bring these practices home. Truly successful ecotourism changes not just the way you vacation, but the way you think–no matter where you are.