Ineffective solid waste management system has dire impacts on the environment locally and globally. Plastic bags and bottles are very often seen floating at many of our most popular dive sites. Plastics don't fully decompose and break down into smaller pieces that can be ingested or absorbed by organisms through the food chain. In many documented cases marine mammals and turtles mistake these plastics for food and die a slow and painful death by choking or entanglement. In 2006, 70% of deceased marine turtles in the Egyptian Red Sea are believed to have died due to the ingestion of plastics.
Solid waste does not only impact mega fauna. Corals are often smothered by waste or shaded from sunlight, which is indispensable to their survival. The magnitude of the adverse impacts of solid waste on our ecosystem is alarming. If only 5% of the plastic bags disposed of in Hurghada end up in the sea, it is estimated that they would cause death to more than 250 seabirds and 25 marine mammals every month. Needless to say, the impacts on the ecosystem and on human health are disastrous.
An effective and comprehensive solid waste management plan can save our environment on a local scale by alleviating the disastrous effects of the solid waste on wildlife, and on a global scale through the preservation of the re-usable resources in the solid waste.
Usually, we are unaware of the entire “lifecycle” of “items” we use on a daily basis. Although, by carefully analyzing the matter you can begin to understand that even as a simple consumer, every move we make plays a role in undermining the equilibrium of the world's eco-system.
Over 600 tons of rubbish is generated every day in varying regions of the Red Sea and until the initiation of HEPCA's solid waste management strategy, waste collection, disposal, and recycling was sporadic and unregulated. The lack of a proper management strategy in the Red Sea governorate had led to an unimaginable accumulation of waste throughout the entire area. To make matters worse, the generally strong winds blowing in the Red Sea resulted in dispersed low density waste.