Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

that’s just rubbish! Here’s a much better thirst quenching option….

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One of the things I often ranted and raved about when we lived in Ghana was the pervasive use of plastic bags…. in particular the use of water sachets….  they were a very affordable option for poor people to have safe water to drink.  Regrettably, one consequence of the affordability of these bags (about 5 or 10 Aussie cents for one 250 ml sachet), was that many foreigners who could easily afford (and would know how to, and in many cases, are even provided with the means) to safely filter their own drinking water, would use the “sachets”, thus contributing even more to a significant pollution problem in Ghana.  (and setting a bad example for the locals!)

Regrettably, so many otherwise beautiful villages in Ghana were teeming with litter

This was coupled with a culture which did not seemingly value the proper disposal of rubbish, and many otherwise beautiful villages were often strewn with litter, as you can see in this photo of an otherwise delightful traditional community just outside of Tamale.

We have recently returned from Egypt, where by comparision, the streets are virtually litter free (certainly compared to Ghana, anyhow!), and we often saw street cleaners sweeping up the sidewalks.

On the Nile, I did wonder, as i gazed out of our cruise boat where we “lived” for four nights… what happened to all the litter?  

boat collecting litter from the cruise ships on the Nile

 I found out one day, as I was musing on the upper deck….  this boat was going from cruise ship to cruise ship, collecting all the trash….   not sure where it went from here, but I must say that overall, I was impressed with how Egypt is coping with the millions of visitors it has every year.

For us, one of the simple things that we did, that ensured we did not add to the multitude of plastic water  bottles being disposed of, was bringing along some “Puri Tabs” which we used with local water.  We just added these tablets to our water bottles, and voila!  safe water to drink, without the rubbish disposal issue of yet another plastic bottle.  It may seem “cheap” at the time (less than an Aussie dollar for a 1.5 litre plastic bottle of filtered drinking water), but it is the long term cost  to the planet that doesn’t make such choices that much of a bargain….

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Written by Mar(k)

January 26, 2011 at 8:36 am

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