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Travel | Sustainable Travel - Leave nothing but footprints

Leave Nothing But Footprints – why tourists must remember they owe a duty of care to the environments they travel to (the case of Kendwa Beach, Zanzibar).

Kendwa Beach, Zanzibar is such a beautiful place. The sea, much like the rest of Zanzibar, is fifty shades of blue from a distance, and crystal clear up close. The sounds of the waves seek to calm anyone who will oblige. With this in mind, Kendwa Beach is also a tourist hub, but not as loud as neighbouring Nungwi, meaning you can enjoy some relaxation time should you wish. The shore is also lined with beach-front hotels, shops selling various arts, crafts and souvenirs, and ‘beach boys’ selling sunset cruises amongst other excursions. Kendwa Beach is a hub of activity.

Kendwa Beach is also haven for exploration. Zanzibar is an archipelago and the marine life will leave you awestruck. Exploring the shallow waters of the shore, you will find an abundance beautiful ‘fruits of the sea’, namely starfish or ‘sea stars’.

In fact, it was knowing that I would see lots of star fish that brought me to Kendwa Beach on my third trip to Zanzibar, and they were there in abundance, in a variety of sizes, colours and patterns!

As such, I broke my heart to see how tourists had littered the gorgeous white sand with plastic bottles, cigarette butts and other rubbish. Even worse was that some of this litter made it into the sea, close to where many of these beautiful starfish dwelled. Every now and then, I would come across some rubbish and I tried my best to clean up, but soon became overwhelmed as I realised the task was much bigger than myself. I asked some people who worked on the beach how this was able to happen. They explained it was mainly caused by tourists and that cleaners did come to clean the beach in the mornings.

According to the Plastic Oceans Foundation, more than 10 million tonnes of plastics are dumped into our oceans every year. It is clear that something more needs to be done and it starts with tourists respecting their destinations.

I am sure they do not treat their home countries this way. To put it simply, we have to be responsible as tourists. Kendwa Beach and the like are home to the local people and the wildlife, as well as people who make a living from these waters.

The hotels that line the beach also have a duty of care, both to inform their guests that littering is prohibited, and also providing clean up facilities by way of rubbish bins, beach signs and cleaners. The government of Tanzania also has a duty of care to enforce the strictest penalties for those caught polluting their beautiful beaches and waters, and potentially harming its inhabitants. It should also strive to find solutions to waste disposal – particularly plastics – however this issue remains a challenge in many developing countries.

The more I travel, the more I see how much of a nature lover I am, and a lover of the great outdoors. The world is a very beautiful place and my hope is that we do all we can to preserve it. As tourists, we have a duty of care to look after the places we travel to, ‘to take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints’, so we can preserve the wonders of this earth for

generations to come.

What are your thoughts on plastics, waste and treating our environment with care? Please comment below.


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