Responsible Tourism: Leave No Trace includes your Waste Water

May 11 2017

South Africa’s drought status has highlighted corporate responsibility towards efforts to use, conserve and recycle waste water responsibly but what happens when you are on a Hayward’s Grand Safari expedition in the hinterland of Africa?

“We pack it in and we pack it out,” says Safari Extraordinaire Peter Hayward, owner of Africa’s only 5-star rated mobile tented camp, Hayward’s Grand Safari Company. “ Each luxury mobile safari camp we set up is fully serviced with ensuite showers and toilets in each bedroom, and a central kitchen that presents from 8-course to 22 course taste sensations at each dining experience. Each fully serviced 5 star camp we do consists of communal areas such as themed dining rooms, cigar & cognac lounges, conference tents, spas and cloakrooms, not to mention a crew camp of up to 90 staff. Nothing gets left behind including our waste water from the elaborate chemical toilet system as specified by national parks throughout Africa”.

Hosting adventurous corporate and private VIP celebrity groups in some of the most remote areas in the southern African sub-continent, Peter Hayward has an impreccable 20 year track record of leaving his campsites often in a better state than he found them. All waste is removed off site daily to the nearest approved facility where it is treated for safe dispersal back into the environment. Hayward’s have won numerous eco friendly rating awards over the years as well as commendations from international tourism ministries. Says Ron Braby Nambian Ministry of Environment and Tourism Chief Warden of the Eronge region when speaking about a General Motors South Africa vehicle launch which took place in the country: “Had I not known exactly where Haywards Grand Safari Company had had their camps on the Khan River, I would not have known where to look for impacts. Considering the magnitude of their operations, we can only commend Haywards on the attention to detail Peter and his staff must have invested in returning the site to its natural ‘pristine’ condition. We would have no hesitation in recommending Haywards for future events in our area.”

With seven kinds of pollution in the world:  air, land, light, noise, thermal, visual and water pollution; you won’t find one of them on a Hayward’s Grand Safari Expedition. Waste water alone can damage almost every element in an ecosystem with the addition of bacteria and chemicals not naturally found there. Sourcing and setting up a luxury camp in some of the African continent’s most pristine areas respect for nature and leaving no trace remains top of mind for any responsible tourism advocate such as Hayward’s Grand Safari Company.

“Every geographic area we enter has its own finely-tuned ecosystem that supports people, plants, animals, and microorganisms, their physical surroundings (such as soil, water, and air), and the natural cycles that sustain them. These ecosystems are ecologically fragile and threatened with degradation. It is our first priority that we sustain their only balance so we can continue to enjoy their beauty,” says Peter Hayward.

What happens when we don’t?

Very few of us think about what happens when we switch on the dishwasher, flush the loo or pull the plug out of our bath.  It is not only industry that needs to be aware and maintain certified levels of water quality. All water from the water mains, once used is reduced in quality as a result of contamination by organic wastes, suspended solids, bacteria, nitrates, and phosphates which need to be removed in order to make wastewater acceptable for reuse or for returning to the environment in an acceptable and authorised way.

Sewage contains hundreds of toxic chemicals dumped into the sewage system by households, businesses and industries. Some are harmful in very low concentrations. Some toxins combine with others to form a deadly brew to create new compounds that are even more dangerous.

Using a bio-ecological system, Hayward Grand Safari Company uses a process of anaerobic microorganisms which consumes the waste to produce an environmentally safe sewage water, called effluent, and a solid waste, called sludge or biosolids, suitable for reuse. Reuse is often for agricultural purposes, but more recently, sludge is also being used as a fuel source.

Imported from Japan, Effective Micro-Organisms is a simple additive that is a cost-effective and efficient method to purify the waste water produced on a Grand Safari expedition. It allows the removal of most of the bacteria, microorganism and the destruction of the organic matter. In the process, aerobic bacteria digest the pollutants eliminating both the odour and pollution. Once suitably treated it can be used as a fertilizer, returning important nutrients to the environment, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which plants and animals need for growth.

“Unless every individual starts to take cognisance of the responsibility of our waste, we will soon enough start to see effluent entering the environment which Nature simply can’t cope with. We ensure we only run our camps based purely on environmental principles of leave no trace, removal, recycling and reuse. Destroying the environment ultimately reduces the quality of our own lives; this is why pollution should matter to all of us,” says Hayward.


Water Facts:

  • South Africa is naturally a dry country. At 464mm, our average yearly rainfall is about half the global average of 860mm. Unlike other parts of the world, our cities were built around mining, not water resources.

 

  • Climate-forecasting models predict that rainfall is going to become increasingly variable across Africa. The current drought is a predicator for having to adjust to a dryer future and its effects on our future actions and environments.

 

  • Globally, more people have a mobile phone than a toilet. The impact of humankind on the environment is already at high levels of toxic pollution.
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