Hemingways Watamu is tackling the challenge of plastic waste on the Kenyan coast head on, making waves in the fight against this blight on the oceans. The hotel, which is a Founding Member of the Watamu Marine Association (formed in 2008), is committed to conserving the beauty of the Kenyan coastline and the ecosystem of coral reefs, turtles, barracuda, and whale shark, that live within it. In addition to its ongoing efforts, the hotel is now introducing an eco awareness programme for sustainably conscious guests to get involved in whilst on holiday.
The Watamu Marine Association brings together the community and local hotel businesses to preserve the precious marine environment along the Watamu coast. Hemingways Watamu is working hand-in-hand with EcoWorld Watamu – a non-governmental organization that hires underprivileged locals to collect plastic debris along the beach each week and reuse and recycle it for better purposes. All plastic waste from Hemingways Watamu goes direct to EcoWorld where it is separated according to weight and color, before being shredded or melted, and recycled. EcoWorld then helps the community turn this ‘trash into cash’, creating art works, furniture, fence posts, and trinkets – generating income and removing debris in the same breath. The biggest impact of these endeavors is visible in local construction as sand filled plastic and glass bottles are used to make building blocks, saving around 40% on traditional home construction costs. The Hemingways Collection has also already banned plastic straws from all of its hotels.
Guests can now spend a day learning about the Watamu Marine Association and EcoWorld Watamu, with an educational day joining in on the recycling process, and learning about the impact that plastic waste is having on this fragile environment. Guests also have the opportunity to contribute to the effort on a more informal basis by picking up one of the hotel’s recycled plastic bags and collecting plastic waste as they take in their daily walk along Watamu beach.
The precious Watamu coastline is at the heart of the hotel’s community, and the team at Hemingways Watamu feel passionately about protecting the future of this tropical paradise.
The Hemingways Watamu Eco Awareness Programme is available from $72 per person for a full day and $30 for a half day. Guests will spend the morning on the reef with a Watamu Marine Association boat captain who provides an educational chat on the ocean and impact of plastic whilst watching the dolphins. Following a beach clean with a Blue Team member, the afternoon will be spent at EcoWorld Watamu with an informative tour by EcoWorld leader Myra, and for those that are keen to get more involved, volunteers are welcome to help. The tour includes a small gift for a memento and the day is finished off with a drink and a crab samosa at the Crab Shack on the Mida Creek. Available between November – April.
Stays at Hemingways Watamu are from $320 per room per night based on two sharing on a B&B basis