Tourism is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it plays a part in enabling people to learn more about the world around us, the flipside however is that we often leave the places we visit in worse condition than when we first arrived. Many corporations are now taking active steps towards sustainable tourism, but that responsibility does not lie solely on the big companies; we too can play a part. Here are 5 simple ways to reduce our carbon footprint:
1) If you have the habit of bringing many packets of tissue paper with you when you travel, cut down on that number (it would be better if you do not bring any at all). Instead, use handkerchiefs or small towels instead. These small tree-savers are easy to keep in your pocket or handbag and can be washed and dried easily in the hotel.
2) Bring your own shopping bag. Not only will it reduce the number of paper or plastic bags being used, it is also more convenient if the shops at your travel destination do not provide any carriers.
3) Another bag that you should bring along in your handbag or backpack is a small bag for garbage. Unlike Singapore, there are many countries that do not have rubbish bins lining the streets. These small trash bags are very efficient in curbing the temptation to just “drop” your litter.
4) Though not common in Singapore, the practice of bringing your own utensils out is quite common in countries such as Taiwan and Japan. Other than for the purpose of recycling, it is also better for your health. Disposable utensils such as bamboo chopsticks undergo a lot of chemical treatment when being made. These chemicals are then indirectly consumed by users.
5) If you would be out of the hotel most of the time of the day, or if your room is not really dirty, you could opt to have it cleaned once in two days or even less frequently. You can do so by putting on the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign or by informing the house cleaning staff not to clean your room.