UN human rights chief voices concern over arrest of activists, curbs on NGOs In India    UN report shows still long way to go for gender equality    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Chairs Cabinet's Virtual Session    Dynamic UAE-US ties highlighted during inaugural strategic dialogue    Saudi companies told about acute hydration threat and its effect on business    OIC Welcomes US President's Statements Regarding Removing Sudan From List of States Sponsoring Terrorism    Saudi man accused of harassing foreign wife asked to be produced before court Court allows divorce, custody of children by mother    Saudi Arabia leading GCC entries in 10th annual ‘Moments' competition    BSPTI launches a national initiative to train Bahrainis    Man United, Liverpool in talks to join new European super league    KSrelief medical clinics continue providing treatment services to people in Hijjah, Yemen    Fintech Saudi launches directory of fintech ecosystem    Saudi Arabia Appointed as Coordinator of CODEX for the Near East Region Countries    GACA Celebrates International Day of Air Traffic Controllers 2020    1,077 new coronavirus cases, 1,502 recoveries, 4 deaths reported in UAE    Latest on Worldwide Spread of Coronavirus    Two Holy Mosques Affairs Presidency Allocates Place for Prayers and Entrances at the Grand Mosque for People with Disabilities    Saudi Arabia to organize standards summit within G20 activities    T20 Task Force 8 announces International Financial Architecture completion    Global Intellectual Property Challenges Forum to be held Oct. 26    KSrelief, IMC, sign cooperation deal    UAE renews its continued commitment to supporting Palestinian people    Amman Stock Market Falls    Asian Shares Mixed    Boycott and support!    Players in Prince Muhammad Bin Salman Cup don jerseys with names written in Arabic script    MEWA, U.S. DOE Sign Landmark MOU on Cooperation in Field of Desalination Research, Technology    Inspirational women set to shine at the ODMC    Bahrain Raid Xtreme unleashes bespoke Dakar T1 vehicle at first test    KSrelief, IMC, Sign Memorandum of Cooperation    Bahrain Royal Guard team successfully scales Mt. Manaslu, to climb Mount Everest in 2021    Bidding adieu to Khubba Melibari — a beacon of knowledge    5th Misk Global Forum Kicks Off    Saudi Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai Launches Online Employment Platform    How to establish a proper sleep routine    Napoli blast four goals as they thumped Atlanta 4-1    VAR foils Liverpool in derby draw with Everton    Ithra to Launch 3rd Creativity Season (Tanween)    MoH Calls on Groups of Patients to Postpone Umrah Performance    Red Sea International Film Festival Announces a New Short Film Competition    Saudi Study on Hereditary Causes of Serious Coronavirus' Cases, Published in Recognized World Class Science Magazine    S. P. Bala, legendary Indian singer, dead at 74    Happy National Day 90    Every work has its fruits, so choose wisely    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers in Arafat Holy Site    Senior Scholars Council Issues Decision No. 246 Regarding Attendance of Friday Prayer and Prayers at Mosques in a Case of Spread of Epidemic or Fear of its Spread    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Addresses Citizens and Muslims on Eid Al-Fitr    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Egypt's fight to preserve coral reefs in the Red Sea
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 30 - 09 - 2020

Off the coast of Egypt, the waters of the Red Sea are home to some of the most productive and diverse coral reefs in the world.
Year-round sunshine attracts millions of snorkelers, divers, and other visitors to the coastal resorts. The Red Sea region is particularly popular as tourists can obtain a "Sinai Stamp", a free alternative to a tourist visa, which makes a weekend trip from Europe easy to arrange.
As a result, the tourism industry is one of the country's leading economic sectors, generating around 389 billion Egyptian pounds (€20.9 billion) for the nation's economy in 2018.
But the high concentrations of tourists in cities along the Red Sea contribute significantly to plastic pollution, which threatens the region's marine life.
A recent move toward zero plastic tourism in Egypt's Red Sea region plans to protect marine life and preserve one-of-a-kind resort destinations like Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh for generations to come.
As many as 13 million metric tons of plastic are dumped into oceans around the world each year, according to research from Pew Charitable Trusts. When plastic gets into the sea, it endangers fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and marine mammals, which can become entangled in or ingest debris and then suffocate, starve, or drown.
Plastic rubbish also damages coral reefs, as the bacteria that causes white band disease, which destroys coral tissue, can colonize and spread via plastics.
When plastic debris settles on coral, it also creates the perfect conditions for another lethal infection called black band disease.
In the Red Sea, plastic pollution threatens more than a thousand species of colorful fish and coral, about ten percent of which are endemic to the Red Sea, meaning they are not found anywhere else in the world.
Intent on protecting the Red Sea's diverse marine life and preserving unique snorkel and dive sites for future generations, Egyptian conservationists launched a campaign to ban single-use plastics in the region last year.
"We conducted a study and confirmed that plastic is affecting marine life," said Soha El-Ramly, the marketing director at Hurghada Environmental Protection And Conservation Association (HEPCA).
The team turned their research into a proposal for a ban on the production and use of single-use plastics in the Red Sea Governorate in spring 2019, and governor Gen. Ahmed Abdullah, put the proposal into law in April. It went into effect the following June.
In the Red Sea region, Governor Abdullah supported HEPCA's proposal, which made the legal aspect of the plastic ban relatively simple, explains El-Ramly. However, implementing it has proven more difficult.
"People resisted it," said El-Ramly, "[they] were used to using plastic...in shops and at home." Disposable items like bottles, cutlery, food containers and coffee cups are valued for their convenience in Egypt, and many seaside snacks and even juices are regularly served in small plastic bags.
With the ban in place, HEPCA launched a public awareness campaign to educate the public about the harmful effects of plastic pollution on both marine life and human health, and to encourage a move toward more sustainable alternatives.
The campaign targeted restaurants, hotels, resorts, and other tourist hotspots. Last summer, HEPCA also began to offer certifications to businesses that eliminate single-use plastics. The Siva Grand Beach Hotel in Hurghada was the first to be granted the certification for its commitment to zero plastic tourism.
While several resorts are beginning to embrace the principles of sustainable tourism in the Red Sea region, supermarkets and restaurants have been a major obstacle to the implementation of the single-use ban because of their reliance on plastic bags.
Egyptians use an estimated twelve billion unrecyclable plastic bags every year, so both shopkeepers and consumers have been hesitant to phase them out. "Plastic bags are cheap for shops," El-Ramly explains, and despite HEPCA's public awareness campaign, "it was difficult to convince them to switch."
Now, more than a year later, many businesses and consumers have given up single-use plastics, but others still fail to comply with the ban. Those that do not comply are subject to fines, but El-Ramly said that when staff at HEPCA hear about violations, they prefer to take a more community-oriented approach to enforcement.
"Whenever we find someone not complying, we talk to them," El-Ramly said, "and we will not stop until we get the results we want."
Thanks to the work of HEPCA and other conservationists, the Red Sea Governorate is leading the way toward sustainable, zero plastic tourism in Egypt. Several cities in South Sinai, including Sharm El-Sheik and Dahab, which is home to the notorious Blue Hole dive site, have since followed suit.
El-Ramly describes the bans as a step in the right direction, but said that the conservation work never stops. "I hope [a single-use plastic ban] will be implemented across the whole country one day," she said.
A nationwide ban on single-use plastics is not likely to become law in Egypt anytime soon. If it did, though, it would go a long way toward protecting the Red Sea and Egypt's other incredible natural wonders like Mount Catherine, the nation's tallest peak, and Siwa's salt lakes in Egypt's western desert. — Euronews

Clic here to read the story from its source.