Category: India Tourism Blog

A blog devoted to India Tourism.

Water filter

Packaged water is it’s official name.

It should be called an environmental disaster. We should all be using a water filter.

Packaged or Bottled water has been a fixture of the India travel experience for a long, long time. Bottles instead of a water filter have been the preferred source of drinking water. A friend of mine printed t shirt in the early nineties that had a simple image on them. It was a picture of a bottle of Bisleri. The bottle was so ubiquitous that he sold them all to friends that had been to India. Soon they will become a distant memory.

The negatives of bottled water.

There are so many negatives to bottled water. One day my Mother met her doctor in the carpark & he saw that my Mother had a plastic water bottle on the passenger seat. He told her that they should be kept out of the sun, as carcinogens leach out of the plastic into the water with sunlight. A couple of months later, the same Doctor diagnosed my Mother with Cancer. This started my hatred for those bottles. I blamed them. I could not stand the site if them. I refused to have them in my house. I used old duty free spirit bottles & added filtered water to them for myself & guests. Any plastic bottles had to be left in a place that they could not be seen outside. My eyes were drawn to them from then on.

After moving to Goa, I was suddenly again surrounded by the dreaded packaged water bottles. They piled up everyday behind the restaurant. I hated them. It got me thinking about them & how to get rid of them. Water filters would seem to be the best option.

Why is there so much bottled water in India?

A big reason for the huge use of water bottles in India has been the travel guidebooks. Notably the ‘Lonely Planet’ guide who were the arbiters of Indian travel in the 80’s & 90’s. I cannot find an old book or any reference, but I am sure that the book advised that travellers did not drink any water except bottled water, with the seal intact, to avoid become unwell. I will try & clarify this with Lonely Planet. Also to check on their current advice on this. I will also at this point thank ‘Lonely Planet’ for the fact I have been a vegetarian for twenty eight years. This is thanks to the book telling me to avoid meat in India. I saw a butchers shop in Delhi & that was it, never again, I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart. It would be great if Lonely Planet made a concerted effort to discourage plastic use on their website. I will forward this article to them.

So unlike other countries of the world, for travellers in India, the only option IS bottled water. So it would seem. Many places have water filters & will provide you with a bottomless cup of it if you ask. However the problem with this is that people do not trust. One reason for this is that the water filter in inside & they cannot see the water coming from it.

Ancient Water Tank India Water Filter
Ancient Water Tank India Water Filter

What are the options.

My suggestions to change from bottled water are as follows.

Stop selling bottled water!

What about shopkeepers? There is the loss of the twenty rupees income? For many the water bottle is still a source of regular income in small shops in tourist areas (& across the country now, however there are water ATMs which is great initiative from the government). The water also brings in tourist to buy other things, so there will be some reticence from some shop keepers.

  • What can shop keepers do instead?

Put an attractive water filter inside or outside your shop. There are some clear filters that let you see all the filters inside, which gives confidence to customers. Many tourists will keep the water bottle & buy another before they run out. At this point they can refill the bottle. And guess what it costs? Yes, twenty Rupees! The same income, without the cost, (yes, I know, once the machine has been paid for.)

Alongside the water filter there needs to be a choice of bottles. Refillable, reusable water bottles. It will take some time for people to get used to this, but again, soon it will be normal to carry a special water bottle & extremely abnormal to have a clear single use one.

  • Restaurants & hotels also have a choice?

Offer water in glass bottles filled from your filter. Give them for free or charge your normal price. Put a water filter in an obvious public place with a sign saying drinking water. Put a collection box & ask that anyone filling their bottle to put twenty rupees in. This will save time, energy & staff costs. People are honest & what will you have lost anyway? Twenty rupees. A small price to pay to do your bit in saving the environment.

You can also have a range of great re-useable water bottles for people to buy. This actually adds income to selling water.

What Water filter is best?

Here are a few choices of water filter.

Kent Water Filter
Kent Water Filter
Perfect Aquafresh Swift 15 Liters water filter
Perfect Aquafresh Swift 15 Liters water filter
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Eco Friendly products

Eco Friendly products for India tourism properties.

Change to eco friendly products now, before you are forced to change.

In this article we will focus of the items you use every day when serving food in your restaurant. It is necessary to replace the old plastic products with eco friendly products now. We need to embrace ecology & waste reduction in our businesses. For the benefit off the environment & us all.

I will not deal with recycling here but this is obviously a massive issue. In this article I want to deal with what we can do to avoid waste, rather than what to do with what we have.

Reduce, rather than recycle is also also essential & makes sense as it also saves money.

Single use plastic ban in Goa

The Government of Goa is taking a bold step & bringing in a ban on single use plastics from September this year. Goa will be one of the first states in India to do so & will also be a world leader in doing so. It is a certainty that the rest of the country will follow shortly.

This will have a strong impact on tourism properties in Goa. It will no longer be possible to use those styrofoam boxes & plastic ‘Sporks’ for your guests. It is time to look for options.

Fortunately there are many different companies offering a range of Eco Friendly products available now. I will take at look what is currently available & see what is the best.

Eco Friendly product suppliers in India

Here are some companies offering eco friendly products for the Tourism Industry

Pappco Greenware

Ecofriendly Food Packaging, Certified Compostable & Microwaveable Products

CHUK

Compostable Tableware | Sustainable Dinnerware | Eco-friendly & Disposable Tableware |

Earthytude

Earthytude Goa and its environment friendly product.

Ecoworld

Offering


Plastic in the press

All the national press have picked up on the story of eco friendly products The Times of India

Here are the countries leading the way with plastic bans.

There is huge growth in demand for eco friendly products in these countries.

  • India

State bans are coming into force across the country with Delhi leading the way. Huge amounts of plastics are used at wedding celebrations, Religious events & other very large gatherings inIndia. This is a very welcome move. As we have seen about Goa is moving forward with a ban in September this year.
Other States of India have also imposed bans on plastic bags, most notably Himachal Pradesh. It was the first State in India to ban polythene carry bags in 2009. Before this, due to the peculiarities of the valley, ie everything blows around it, rather than up or down it, there was the a peculiar site of plastic bag trees. Whole trees carrying, instead of the fruit that the valley is so famous for, blue plastic bags. It is fortunate that there were such obvious signs of the dangers here & that it led to action.
They had gone from being a throw away item to being a cherised one. Valued for their usefulness. They became valuable as they kept things dry, money for instance. I would closely guard my thick duty free plastic bags. Sometimes I would give them as a present. Imagine that.
Since this time, the site of a polythene comes as a bit of a shock. It really catches your eye, when you see one now. They so quickly passed out of being normal, too being something to fear. It is amazing how our consciousness & perception changes so fast. One day a sight is normal, the next not.USA. In the world, as of June this year the USA still does not have a nationwide ban on Single Use Plastics. Maybe they could change the habit of a lifetime & not be late to the save the environment party, but I cannot see that happening. However New York, California and Hawaii  & leading by example by banning them at a state level.

  • United Kingdom.

Others are the United Kingdom, which is not there yet. Products containing microbes were banned last year. Next is a ban on plastic straws, drink stirrers & cotton buds in April next year. The full single use plastic ban cannot be far away. This year for the first time Glastonbury banned all of it. It was a big move as 200,000 people were using a lot of plastic over five days. It worked with no complaints. Well done.

  • Taiwan

They have started with a straw ban in restaurants & a country wide ban next year. They will then phase all out within the next ten years. Not a very strong commitment from them, (ten years might be too late) but they are moving in the right direction.

  • New Zealand

In August 2018 the new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a complete ban of Single use plastic for her nation & country. Large fines have been imposed. This is nothing less than we would expect from New Zealand.

  • 15 African Nations

Honourable mentions to, Kenya, Rwanda, Zimbabwe & Senegal
These both imposed a ban in 2017 with both imposing heavy penalties including four years in jail for manufacturing plastics. Thats probably more than Heizenburg would get. Using a plastic bag is a crime in Kenya so check your luggage before visiting. Rwanda started work on it is 2006. I look forward to the rest of the continent coming to the party.

  • Morocco

Another African nation that has taken a big leap forward. The country had the dubious distinction of being the second largest consumer of plastic bags. Seems unbelievable but they saw the error of their ways & banned the bags in 2016. They are moving forward with the other source of plastic pollution. Well done to Morocco.

  • Rwanda

An honourable mention goes to Rwanda. They were one of the first to ban the plastic bag, way back in 2008. This is like the jurassic age in terms of awareness of plastic use. I should imagine it is a beautiful plastic bag free country & it is moving forward with it’s plans to stop all plastics by 2020. Truly a forward thinking nation. I hope your tourism industry booms.

  • Colombia

The great South American nation actually bothered to study the situation. They are the only country to specify a size of plastic bag. You can have a bag but it must be bigger than 12 x 12 inches. That seems like a sensible first move. They are moving forward with plastic reduction & these first measures have already contributed to a 27 percent drop in plastic bag use. It is not that hard to take immediate action.

  • Canada

The forest, lakes, ice hockey, Moose & Molsen nation have just now banned microbes. The government has set a target of 2021 for a complete ban. Again I don’t think it is necessary to wait three years to get plastic out of the supply chain as the alternatives are already available. If you are going to do it, just do it.

  • France

The First Nation to ban plastic cups, plates, utensils & bags was France, in 2016. They have a policy in place to transition away from plastic by 2020. As a nation that loves its fresh food, it makes sense that they should lead the way with food packaging. Vive La France.

  • Antigua and Barbuda

Being an island nation they have borne the brunt of plastic pollution. It is also very visible on coast lines & the government did not miss this. The dreaded bag was banned in 2016. Stricter rules banning Styrofoam with heavy penalties were introduced in 2019. I wanna go.

  • Samoa

Another island nation that has been badly affected, not only from their own use but also plastic arriving on their shores from elsewhere. There is strong support from the people & the government & I am sure we will be seeing Samoa lead the way in the future.

  • Bangladesh

There are many first as there are many different types of plastic. Bangladesh banned thin plastic bags way way back in 2002. They still have the thicker ones but I guess it is a start.

  • South Korea

Last year, half of the Korean Peninsula banned plastic bags from super markets. The government have said that this is the start of the countries move away from plastics. They have a challenge ahead of them.

  • China

China has not yet moved on consumer plastic bans but it has moved in another direction. China has banned the import of single use for recycling. Nearly half of the worlds plastic was ent to China. Now there are a lot of nations looking for somewhere else to send their crap. This might be the biggest driver for countries making the move & banning the plastic. Let’s hope so & say a big thank you to china, which is not something we do very often.

  • The Former Soviet Union

The bloc of nations that were formally Russia banned the bag in 2018. Individual countries have then pursued their own policies. Notably Georgia, Albania & Romania are pushing forward with wider bans & hopefully their former country mates will follow shortly.

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