People nowadays definitely love to travel, and for good reason. Traveling allows people to experience different cultures and cuisines helping them to broaden their perspectives. But as with all things good, there’s also a bad side to it — the tons of waste most tourists leave and the environmental disaster these wastes can cause. So unless we all go green and travel green, our children won’t be able to experience how beautiful our planet truly is in the long run.
Remember what happened to Boracay?
When they shut Boracay down about four months ago, it was described as a “cesspool” by the president himself. We’ve all heard about it in the news. The government closed the entire island from tourists so that it would be able to do a major overhaul.
Well, that was four months ago. Just this past week, they’ve actually announced that the world-renowned travel destination will be open again to accommodate tourists this October. Thanks to the national government’s initiative to take over and do a major cleanup of the entire island, it is said that in just a couple of months more, Boracay will finally be back in its former glory.
That’s the good news. The bad news? Tourists will surely flock its white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters once again. And with them will come all the waste that, unless recycled or disposed responsibly, could negate the cleanup that the government did during the closure. And if we don’t do anything about it ourselves, then it won’t take that long for the island to become the “cesspool” it once was.
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So if you’re planning to go to Boracay once it reopens this October, make a conscious effort to go eco-friendly when you travel. If you think about it, it’s really not that hard. You just have to have that conscious effort to do your part — however small or insignificant it may seem — and try to find sustainable ways to travel.
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One of the simplest ways to be a green traveler is to pack as lightly as possible. That’s because every time you carry heavy luggage, all the gas-guzzling vehicles (from planes to motorcycles) you’re going to be traveling on would exert more effort, thus, emitting more CO2 into the atmosphere. So if you’re planning on traveling soon, it’s best if you take just the essentials for you to be able to minimize your carbon footprint.
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Aside from traveling light, being a “green” traveler is being conscious of what you should be taking with you on your leisure trips. The question we should always be asking ourselves whenever we pack our luggage is: “Will any of the stuff I packed cause any negative impact on the environment? “
If you’re looking to reduce your carbon emissions whenever you travel, you should consider investing on these green travel essentials:
As we all know, single-use plastic water bottles and styro coffee cups end up in landfills or in the oceans. Instead of buying bottled water or drinking coffee from disposable cups, just bring your own insulated bottle that’s not only reusable but keeps your coffee hot (or your water cold) for longer periods of time.
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Plastic straws are also one of the biggest problems we have as these also end up in landfills by the tons every day. To help in reducing plastic waste, we could invest in a reusable metal straw.
Like with the plastic straws, we often use plastic utensils when we eat in food chains. If you really can’t help but eat in those food chains, just bring your own utensil set with you.
Again, plastic products like plastic bags are major toxic pollutants. Instead of using plastic bags to pack away your wet swimsuits and other laundry, just use a tote bag that can be washed and reused on your next trip.
Most travel-sized shampoo, lotion, cream, and other toiletries we bring when we travel are sold in plastic bottles or sachets, which, again, may end up in landfills. So it’s best to invest in reusable bottles which can be refilled with all these hygiene essentials.
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Soap, shampoo, facial wash, and personal care products are actually harmful to the ocean, not to mention that they can also contaminate a drinking source when they seep through underground wells. The solution is actually simple — just go organic. You can buy shampoo and conditioner bars and organic soap from bazaars or online Pinoy sellers.
Using regular sunscreen lotion in some parts of the world is actually prohibited. That’s because sunscreen lotion was found to contain chemicals that is harmful to marine life. So for screen protection, get the biodegradable option.
Another way to eliminate the “plastic problem” is by using a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush.
If you really can’t live without your smartphones, tablets, and speakers, just use a solar power bank to charge your devices. Not only will it power up your devices, it’ll also help in reducing your carbon footprint.
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Or better yet, instead of entertaining yourself with your smartphone — which, we can pretty much use anytime we want back in the city — why don’t you just sit back, relax, and enjoy a good book. Not only will it be more relaxing, it’ll also broaden your mind.
As the old saying goes: leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time. Still one of the best and the most relevant eco-friendly travel tips there is actually.
Being an eco-conscious traveler doesn’t take that much. And if you think about it, if each and every one of us contributes in our own little ways, we wouldn’t have to worry about the island paradise of Boracay being shut down again.