The biodiversity of the Indian Ocean is severely threatened by the dumping of plastic waste at sea, but a Tanzanian responsible tour company appears to have a solution.
Zara Tanzania Adventurers, a Tanzanian prominent tour outfit, has embarked on a noble mission of cleaning up the Indian Ocean as part of its conservation drive to dispose of plastic waste in the sea.
Zara Tanzania Adventurers, through its Zara Charity and Zara Foundation subsidiaries, recently partnered with Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society (MKPS) and Tourism and Environmental Social Organization (TESO) in clearing up litter on the Indian Ocean coastline beach in Tanga Region.
The company’s Managing Director, Zainab Ansell, said the first exercise of its kind to be initiated and executed by a tour company in Tanzania, would be carried out time to time in a bid to rid the sea and its biodiversity of plastic waste.
“As an advocate for sustainable tourism development, Zara Charity and Zara Foundation had, along with TESO, deployed a team of tour guides, porters and volunteers to the Indian Ocean Coastline in Tanga to clean it up,” said Ms Ansell.
The crew thoroughly cleaned up both the coastline and the deep sea, successfully hauling out over seven tons of waste, of which 95 per cent were plastic bags, 3 per cent mineral water bottles and 2 per cent other debris.
“Zara Charity is proud to initiate and fund this much-needed call for action, and is humbled to tackle the menace of plastic pollution – one of the world’s greatest challenges,” Ms Ansell noted.
She added: “As the company, in all our operations, we have decided to recycle, re-use and reduce plastic in efforts to curb plastic pollution. We are also at the frontline in raising awareness of the need to refrain from, if not to eliminate, plastic usage across the country”.
The MKPS Vice-Chairman, Edson Matauna, alias Mpemba, said Zara was a role model in championing the ocean clean-up, imploring other companies to emulate the firm for better habitats.
Founded in 1987, Zara Tanzania Adventurers is currently not only the leading Mount Kilimanjaro outfitter, but also is one of the country’s largest safari operators.
Plastic pollution in oceans is one of the world’s biggest environmental concerns of the modern time, weighing down over 600 marine species.
Going by the UN statistics, plastic pollution is persistently causing annual financial damage of $13 billion.
The cost stems from the impact of plastic on marine life, tourism, fisheries and businesses. Plastic does not only distress sea life; it also carries toxic pollutants with it into the entire food chain.