You are probably making holiday plans again. Will it be an active vacation, for example helping CoralGardening on Koh Tao, or rather a sun and beach holiday to a warm destination? If you are going on a trip then here are some tips to contribute to a healthy coral reef.
7 tips what you can do on holiday to protect coral reefs:
- Bring your own drinking bottle, cutlery set, mug and reusable bag
In many countries water from the tap is not drinkable. Drinking water is sold in plastic bottles. The smaller the bottle, the more you need to quench your thirst. Worldwide, about one million bottles are produced per minute, of which we do not yet recycle 10%. About 900,000 bottles per minute end up in the environment, on landfill sites or are burned. The same applies to all other single-use plastic. Prevention is better than curing. Nowadays there are fancy and strong bottles for sale.
- Support local communities
By supporting them, the money that you spend in the local economy will remain, instead of going to the country with the headquarter of the multinational. Often it is also even nicer to stay in a family hotel, than in a resort of a large chain.
Also check which local sustainability projects in the region and volunteer for a number of hours or days. Always educational and a fun way to meet new people.
- Eat local dishes
My rule is: “The larger the franchise chain is, the less tasty the food.” Simply because the big companies want to keep the taste the same everywhere, the food is processed and imported from different countries. Hamburger, fries and spaghetti must be supplied from far away. They also contribute to a higher CO2 emissions.
Local dishes, on the other hand, are freshly prepared and you can taste that. You also support the local farmers. From my own experience I can tell that it is much more exciting to try new dishes. Not to mention the enthusiastic owners of the small restaurants who are often very proud of receiving foreign guests.
Are you vegan or vegetarian, then there are useful apps that lead you to local vegetarian restaurants.
- Follow local guidelines when snorkeling or diving
When you go by boat you use a buoy to moor up, instead of throwing the anchor. This prevents anchor damage. Here are a number of guidelines that apply everywhere.
- Buy and use sun cream that does not contain Oxybenzone or Octinoxate.
These substances are harmful to coral reefs. It seems like a minor adjustment, but if hundreds of people visit a coral reef every day, a large amount of sun cream will come into the water with all its consequences. It is estimated that every year 14,000 tons of sun cream touches the coral reefs. 1 drop of Oxybenzone in 6.5 Olympic pools is already harmful for coral reefs.
- Do not feed fish.
Fish provide a natural balance between coral and algae. They generally eat algae of the corals. When fish are fed, they are no longer hungry and do not eat algae. The algae will then get the upper hand and grow over the coral.
- Do not go fishing or spear fishing. Or rather, eat as little fish as possible.
There is overfishing, we are emptying our ocean. For example, go diving in Crete and see with your own eyes how little fish live there. It is an amazing contradiction because tourism makes more money than fishing. The revenue from tourism is around 1.9 trillion US dollars annually worldwide and fisheries around 27 billion US dollars. A living shark is worth much more for the local economy than a shark fin in your soup.