CleanUp on Madivaru with Kuramathi.
If you have been following us a little longer, you will have noticed that the Maldives are a spot we visit more often. There a several reasons for that:(If you are new with us, perhaps this contribution helps you among other things.) We’ve been several times on these islands in the past two years. In February we´ve made our way to the local island of Rasdhoo, which is also the name of the atoll. Because this was the place for the fourth Ozeankind CleanUp. Quite a few days after arrival, we were able to win the Kuramathi Resort as our local partner. But one thing at a time.
Note: This post contains unpaid advertising because we will mention the name of the partner resort.
How do we find CleanUps partners while being on the road?
In general we always choose our destination first, then we plan the rough route or search for dirty beaches and travel exactly there. As soon as this is finally planned, we search for hotels, guesthouses or restaurants near our residence. Then we personally visit the places, introduce ourselves and our project and check the possibilities for a cooperation. The first contact is usually by email. Just like in this case with Kuramathi.
Two days after our arrival we received an email from the eco-center of Kuramathi, we were invited! The management was interested in a collaborative CleanUp. We were picked up by boat and had the chance to talk to the people of the eco-center as well as to the management of the resort. In addition, we have been allowed to look behind the scenes of a luxury resort and learn more about the environmental initiatives of the eco center. This conversation went absolutely well. However, we did not have a clear commitment at that time.
So we went back to Rasdhoo and already searched for a “Plan-B-partner”, because you never know what will happen. Because one thing was certain: we will be on the Maldives at the time of the fourth rebel CleanUp and we would love to have a partner … and we would love to do the CleanUp with Kuramathi. 14 days later we have found an email from the Kuramathi management in our mailbox: a promise! Our collaborative CleanUp was secured.
In addition, for the first time we could also ensure a recycling option at the same time. Parley Maldives is working with the resort in general and has agreed to recycle the plastic bottles collected during our CleanUp. So Ozeankind is working with Parley! 🙂 And this fact alone makes us very proud!
What does Kuramathi do about the environment?
A few words about the hotel island … In 1972 the Maldives opened up to tourism. The first hotel complex was built on Kuramathi in 1975. Over the next few years, the island grew up to four resorts (Kuramathi Village, Coconut Village, Cottage Club, Blue Lagoon Beach), which were combined into one resort in 2009: the Kuramathi Island Resort.
The mentioned ECO-Center exists since 1999, after El Nińo and the following coral bleaching events the resort wanted to understand the background and above all learn how to improve the protection of the fragile ecosystem.
Throughout the year, experts and marine biologists are on site. They document the reef and its animals, inform the visitors about the correct behavior during snorkeling … for example. Lectures, films and presentations are also held here. The team is dedicated to answering every tourist’s questions and providing all the information they might need to protect the ecosystem.
There are some projects next to the eco center: extra canals to enter the ocean have been built, so tourists can use them for snorkeling. This was made to ensure that the corals are not damaged any more (by tourists running on them), no night fishing trips are offered and generally the caught fish are released back into the water during and after fishing trips. In addition, there is also a children’s program in which the eco center organizes small educational and discovery tours especially for children.
They cooperate with the local island of Rasdhoo when it comes to waste separation and disposal. An annual environmental day was introduced to the local school and together they managed to turn the school into a plastic bag-free zone. But on Rasdhoo there is definitely still a lot to do, that is for sure.
But as you can see: a rebel CleanUp with Kuramathi harmonizes quite well.
February 25th, the day of the CleanUp
With a total of 25 helpers we went by boat to two nearby, uninhabited islands Madivaru & Madivaru Finolhu. That´s paradise. It used to be the paradise.
Both islands are excursion destinations. So lots of tourists come here regularly to spend a day on a sandbank, for snorkeling or kiting. There are picnics or barbecues – but unfortunately the garbage is not always brought back to the boats and islands.
These are the garbage piles and “burning places” of the two small islands. As you can see, burning doesn’t work very good. 🙁 The heat is just too weak for that. You´d need proper incinerators for that.
Our CleanUp started at 2 pm and it was 5.30 pm when we arrived back at Kuramathi. It was really great how much garbage we could remove from the two islands. And it was a lot: 725 kg. We have been able to fill up two of these jumbo bags from Parley with PET plastic bottles alone! Plus 64 normal jute bags.
But what happens to the waste afterwards?
The resort has its own garbage management on the island. Everything is separated. The plastic waste (here: PET bottles) will be brought to Malé by boat and then given to Parley. They´re gonna recycle it. For instance Adidas uses it for the manufacturing of shoes or clothes. Remains of the glass are ground into fine granules on the island and mixed with concrete in order to use it as construction material. The residual waste produced as well as cans are regularly sent to the garbage island of the Maldives, Thilafushi.
Conclusion of the CleanUp on Maldives
It was the third CleanUp so far here (within 3 months) in our “second home” that we have organized. Here for you again the videos of the other two CleanUps.
Every time again we have so much, and so many people are getting involved. Lots of local people are very motivated and want to preserve their paradise, their home. They wanna change something. Of course not all Maldivians are aware of the consequences of garbage disposal on the beach.
Nevertheless, we keep coming across open ears here, not like in other places in the world. It is still a long way to go, but we are very sure that we will have many more actions together with hotels/guesthouses in the future – probably lots of them at this very special place.