Sustainable tourism is on the rise, and the Maldives is no exception. This small island nation in the Indian Ocean is a popular vacation destination for its crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and luxury resorts. However, the Maldives is also facing environmental challenges, such as rising sea levels and coral bleaching. As a tourist, you can make a positive impact by participating in sustainable activities while on vacation. Here are a few options to consider:
1. Use Environmentally-Friendly Sunscreen
Sunscreen is important for protecting your skin from harmful UV rays, but some sunscreens contain chemicals that can be harmful to the environment, particularly coral reefs. Look for sunscreens that are reef-safe and use natural ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
2.Try Neutrally Buoyant Diving And Snorkelling
The Maldives is home to an abundance of marine life, including colourful fish, coral reefs, flora and fauna. Admiring these beautiful waterscapes and their inhabitants without causing harm is pertinent for us to protect and conserve them for future generations. When you visit the Maldives, one thing to remember is to dive and snorkel without damaging the fragile ecosystems and alarming the marine animals. Maintaining good buoyancy control while snorkelling or diving will ensure this. Look for companies that follow sustainable diving practices such as Eco Dive Club from Maafushi Island, or Pro Divers Maldives.
3. Support Coral Restoration Efforts
Coral restoration initiatives are efforts to rebuild and protect coral reefs, which are important ecosystems that provide habitat and food for many marine species. In the Maldives, tourists can participate in coral restoration efforts as part of sustainable tourism. This can involve activities such as planting and tending to baby coral, monitoring the health of coral reefs, and educating others about the importance of coral conservation. By participating in these initiatives, tourists can help to preserve the beauty and biodiversity of the Maldives for future generations.
4. Help Protect Our Marine Animals
As a tourist in the Maldives, you can play an important role in the protection of sea turtles, whale sharks and other marine animals. Many resorts in the Maldives offer ecotourism programmes that allow visitors to learn about and get involved in conservation efforts. You can also support the protection of sea turtles and whale sharks by choosing to stay at eco-friendly resorts and by being mindful of your impact on the environment during your travel. Local and international NGOs working in the Maldives for the protection and conservation of marine animals have clear guidelines on how to encounter Turtles, Whale Sharks and Manta Ray’s responsibly. You can also consider supporting these initiatives by volunteering or via donations.
5. Participate In Ecotourism Activities
Many resorts and tour operators in the Maldives offer ecotourism activities, such as guided snorkelling tours, beach clean-ups, and coral planting. Consider participating in these activities to learn more about the local environment and contribute to conservation efforts. This also offers you the opportunity to visit local islands and witness the way of life of locals. While you are visiting these islands, support local businesses by purchasing souvenirs that are locally produced- another easy way of helping our sustainability cause.
6. Take Part In Environmentally-Friendly Excursions
The Maldives is home to a variety of environmentally-friendly excursions, such as pole-and-line fishing. This traditional fishing technique minimises bycatch and has a low negative impact on the marine environment. Without the use of nets, the number of ghost gear is also minimal from this technique. Visiting one of the many protected sites such as mangroves and forests in the Maldives can also contribute to the conservation efforts. Consider participating in excursions like these to support sustainable tourism practices.
7. Don't Leave Plastics Behind
Plastic pollution is a major issue in the Maldives and can severely harm marine life. As a tourist, you can help by reducing your plastic consumption and properly disposing of any plastic waste. Make sure to recycle whenever possible and do not leave any plastic behind when you leave the island.
8. Participate In Upcycling & Recycling Initiatives
Some resorts in the Maldives offer activities such as pottery-making and recycling programmes for tourists to take part in. The items used in these activities are usually old items that would otherwise go into a waste bin. These types of initiatives can help reduce waste, recycle, and upcycle, which in turn will help us solve the bigger problems.
By participating in or contributing to these activities, you can help protect the beautiful environment of the Maldives and contribute to the well-being of local communities. Many tourist establishments in the Sunny Side of Life have adapted to green and environment-friendly initiatives to restore the balance in nature that we have lost throughout the years. Negligent actions can have a detrimental effect on our environment, and conscious action is required to prevent further degradation and negative impacts. Let’s work towards being part of the solution.