Environment: Eco-Tourists clean up Egypt’s Red Sea beaches in Dahab

JULY 17TH, 2015 8:00AM

Eco-Tourists clean up Egypt’s Red Sea beaches in Dahab

Earlier this month, an Egyptian tour operator decided to launch an eco-tourism initiative taking six tourists on an expedition to clean up a long stretch of coastline.

Jimmy Dahab, founder of  Bishibishi Garden Village, decided to clean up 7 kilometers of shoreline stretching from the world-famous Blue Hole to the Ras Abu Gallum protectorate, disregarding the scorching summer desert heat.

The group found the Dahab beach littered with plastic bottle caps, bottles and bags, shoes, bits and pieces of cloth or old rugs, jerry cans that had remnants of oil and even some medical waste.

This unfortunate situation is characteristic of much of Egypt’s coastline, as most local communities in these areas lack environmental education.

However, the initiative was not the first to tackle the mess of Dahab’s beaches. Sheila Hanney, the British participant, has previously organized six other clean-ups in and around the town. Dahab, who has been working in tourism for 15 years, told Egypt Independent that he intends to incorporate eco-tourism in his business by including similar projects on all his tours.

“I love Dahab and I want everyone to benefit from its beauty. I do believe what we have here is a gift and we need to take care of it and protect it. I see us and the environment as one family,” he said.

Basata, Egypt’s first eco-lodge, is located between Taba and Nuweiba and was built in 1986 with the mission of offering travelers a simpler way of experiencing the beautiful Red Sea. The lodge was constructed from natural materials, desalinates its own water and endeavors to minimizes waste.

As eco-lodges and environmentally friendly tours increase along the Red Sea and elsewhere in Egypt, eco-tourism could soon prove to be a very profitable business. This form of tourism is incredibly promising for a country like Egypt as it is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and unique wonders of nature.

Eco-tourism has slowly been gaining momentum in Egypt, especially on the Red Sea coast where there are already dozens of environmentally conscious camps and lodgings that offer something different from mainstream hotels.Joining Jimmy were two Canadians, one person from the Netherlands, two Ukrainians and one British woman. Together they set off with four camels that carried recycled rice bags to collect the trash along the way. In five hours, the ambitious group managed to trek 5 kilometers of shoreline, filling approximately 30 bags, before the heat forced them to stop.

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