Since August 2009, the Egyptian government has granted HEPCA sole responsibility for the management of waste collection and recycling in the southern Red Sea, an area roughly double the size of The Netherlands. Even in these first few months, the scheme has achieved some incredible results – proof that recycling really does make a difference and dramatically helps to reduce daily damage to the environment. Our Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Marsa Alam city is the hub of the HEPCA solid waste management strategy. Waste is collected and separated at source into organic and non-organic matter before being transported to the MRF. Here, the vast majority of the waste is non-organic and it is sorted, processed and traded through to recycling firms. We also manage and operate a controlled dumpsite for non-recyclables. Organic waste is given to the local community for animal feed. Our latest figures show an outstanding success rate at the MRF in helping to reduce the Red Sea’s carbon footprint: PAPER Each month we recycle more than 8.5 tonnes of paper and cartons, saving - 145 trees - 34 barrels of oil - 25 cubic metres of landfill space - 34,000kw hours of energy - 59,500 gallons of water. Simply put, the monthly HEPCA recycled paper total saves enough energy for heat, electricity and air-conditioning for the average Egyptian home for almost 30 months. ALUMINIUM Each month we recycle more than 41,500 cans, saving - enough energy to run a television, or operate a computer for 14 years, or a computer centre with 20 computers for over one year. GLASS Each month we recycle at least 6000kg of glass, saving - enough energy to power a computer for 296 days, a 100-watt light bulb for 5.93 years and saves the equivalent of 272 litres of oil. PLASTIC Each month we recycle almost 259,000 plastic bottles and parts saving - enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 89.9 years STEEL and TIN Each month we recycle an average of 4.5 tonnes of steel and tin saving - 24.9 tonnes of iron ore, 14 tonnes of coal, and 1.2 tonnes of limestone Greenhouse gas emissions result from the burning of municipality solid waste and are strongly influenced, in particular, by the plastic content of the input waste stream. Each month, the recycling and reuse of this waste by the HEPCA MRF saves around 65 tonnes of CO2 pollutants from entering the atmosphere of the Red Sea! Our solid waste management strategy is not only concerned with saving the environment but also saving livelihoods. Many valuable employment opportunities have been created for the local community in waste collection, transportation and staffing at the MRF. Further employment and income is also generated through the selling on of recyclable material. We estimate an additional 70 jobs will be created annually in support of this program. HEPCA would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the solid waste management strategy and in particular the MRF in Marsa Alam. This scheme is a tremendous achievement in helping to keep the Red Sea clean and addressing climate change in Egypt. We look forward to announcing developments elsewhere in the Red Sea soon.
This year’s Project AWARE International Cleanup Day was celebrated in style in El Gouna on 27th September 2009. Dive centres, hotels, tour operators and their guests, plus a host of other individuals and organizations, joined together to maximize the effect of the Cleanup operation in a tremendous team effort that focused on the reefs of Shaab El Erg and Dolphin House. Over 80 participants collected an incredible 300KG of rubbish from these popular diving and snorkeling sites. The rubbish consisted mostly of the usual tin cans, fishing lines, glass and porcelain, but there were also some more unusual finds including a bed, a pair of ray ban sunglasses and a large carpet. It’s amazing what you can discover underwater! HEPCA also joined in the day’s activities by bringing forward the planned maintenance of the mooring systems at Shaab El Erg and the surrounding dive sites to coincide with the Cleanup Day. Many ropes and buoys were replaced and a new mooring system installed. Massive thanks to everyone who took part in the event and the coordinators, including TGI Divers, Orca Dive Club, Tropical Gangsters Dive Club, Oototo, Makadi Tours, and the Sultan Bey Hotel’s environmental team. Pictures of the event can be seen at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=141670&id=665383254&l=f7b06e8bb9 Elsewhere in El Gouna, Dive Tribe organized a full program of educational activities for their guests and a reef clean up, as did Euro Divers. As well as underwater, other cleanup activities were arranged on land including a 2KM stretch of El Gouna’s northern beaches carried out by environmental teams from the Steigenberger Golf Resort, TTC Ocean View, and TTC Rihana in cooperation with Orascom staff. In total, 550 bags of rubbish were collected. The Mövenpick Resort & Spa had a different idea (also World Tourism Day) and took the opportunity to invite children from the Hurghada Orphanage to spend the day at the resort and entertained them with face painting, games and plenty of ice cream to put smiles on their faces. Well done to our Members and everyone in El Gouna!
Euro Divers organised a simultaneous beach and underwater clean up at their two dive centres in Club Med El Gouna and Grand Hotel Hurghada. Around 50 guests and staff joined in the event at each location and helped to clean up El Sawa and Magawish dive sites removing over 200KG of debris. Blue O Two celebrated Project AWARE International Cleanup Day by encouraging guests to participate in reef cleanups on all three of their vessels. M/Y blue Horizon visited one of Hurghada’s top spots, "The Aquarium" or Gota Abu Ramada East. Approximately 10KG of rubbish was collected between 20 participants including fishing line, electric tape, nets, newspaper, clothes, cable ties, a broken mask and fin straps. M/Y blue Fin visited "The Barge" by Small Gubal Island, collecting 30-40KGS of rubbish between 20 divers. M/Y blue Melody had 16 divers taking part in the reef cleanup at Abu Hashish and approximately 5-10 kgs of rubbish was brought out of the water. Thank you everyone for taking part and well done!