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Wilderness reduces plastic water bottle use

Keikantse Lesemela



In its attempts to reduce plastic water bottle usage and promote environmental conservation in Botswana, Wilderness Safaris Botswana achieved its target of 76 percent reduction on plastic bottle usage in 2017.

The company has been awarded the winner of National Energy Globe Award Botswana for its innovation in wastewater management and water conservation through the reduction of plastic water bottles. In 2012, the company identified plastic water bottle usage as a challenge that needed to be addressed due to the effects of production and disposal of plastic bottles, as well as the carbon emissions and cost of distributing the water into and out of camps, which are located in remote wilderness areas.

An initial five-year water conservation strategy was launched that year, with a key target to reduce the group’s bottled water usage per guest bednight to a group average of 0.8 litres by the end of the 2017 financial year. Wilderness Safaris Botswana Environmental Manager, Segametsi Monnamorwa said since the start of the project, they managed to bring down the total number of the plastic 500 ml water bottles used in Botswana camps from 128 870 in 2012 to 42 966 in 2018.

“Not only were we delighted to hit our first target at the end of 2017, we have since achieved a total reduction of 76 percent across the Wilderness Group, with an average of 0.5 litres per bednight as of 2018. As the leaders in authentic and sustainable ecotourism we are constantly thinking of ways in which we can minimise impact produced by waste,” said Monnamorwa.

In addition to the Bottled Water Strategy, they have also renewed their efforts on effective waste separation at all camps, going to great lengths to ensure that recyclable materials, including plastic, are recycled and not placed in a landfill. “We have also just launched an active campaign in Botswana to reduce the use of packaging and plastic wrap across all camps, sourcing locally-produced fresh produce wherever possible and setting up agreements with suppliers to recycle and reuse packaging material; and most recently banning the use of plastic straws,” said Morwamonna.

The Energy Globe Awards were founded in 1999 by Austrian energy pioneer Wolfgang Neumann and are today considered one of the world’s most prestigious environmental awards.

The programme is under the patronage of UNESCO and is conducted in cooperation with UNEP. This year, more than 2 000 entries were received from 182 countries, each of which was evaluated by high-profile experts from the Energy Globe evaluation committee. Meanwhile the government of Botswana recently announced the ban on the use of plastic carrier bags to curb environmental pollution.

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Minister Thapelo Olopeng

Botswana Stock Exchange’s annual finance and investment competition for secondary school students has been applauded by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng.

The initiative, a capital market awareness tool that has been running for the past seven years, is increasing financial literacy and a culture of investment among young people. The initiative will see the country raise future billionaires through the stock markets. “It is a breath of fresh air to have tertiary students who are financially literate, who can manage their finances,” said the minister.

He urged students to invest even the smallest allowances they earn and have a hassle-free life after university. “Investing on the stock exchange is not only preserved for the rich, but for anyone with a bank account,” said Olopeng.

The minister said the secondary schools finance and investment competition is participation of the private sector in bridging the knowledge divide.Olopeng said the private sector participation augments his ministry’s efforts of providing and building knowledge and innovation through the development and implementation of the policy on tertiary education, research, science and technology to transform the economy from a resource based to a knowledge based.

“In this connection, we will continue to empower our students in order for them to lead better and successful lives which can propel them into the innovation ecosystem,” said Olopeng. BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the Senior Secondary Schools Finance and Investment Competition, first established in 2013 aims to sensitise and educate the student community about capital markets, with the strategic aim to increase financial literacy and promote a culture of investing at a young age.

The competition is open to all senior secondary schools across the country, including private and public senior secondary schools.

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The MidweekSun Admin



Orapa Mine, part of Debswana

Botswana is not using diamonds to kill elephants as alleged by some conservationists after the southern African country announced plans to lift a ban on elephant hunting to address growing conflict between humans and wildlife, a government official has said.

Minister of mineral resources, Green technology and energy security Eric Molale told a mining conference in Gaborone on Monday that the activists were tarnishing the image of Botswana. “That’s hogwash because we as Botswana are [good] conservationists and it is us who worked hard to make sure these elephants [are] brought to the numbers that we do have now,” he said.

“When conflicts arise, it is through consultation, [that we] find out how we can best manage our resources. The people have spoken and we are going to be managing the elephants in the best way that we can.

“We are not culling, we have re-introduced the trophy hunting and if you take 400 elephants per annum for trophy hunting against the 3-5% annual growth rate of the elephant herd that we have…[we are] just barely scratching on the surface.”

Botswana has about 130 000 elephants, the world’s largest population.Molale said Botswana will remain focused on things that are beneficial to the country and will not be distracted by issues spread by people that are not even privy to how things are done in the country.

“We have, however, invited them to come and learn more about what we are doing so they can better understand those important aspects of flora and fauna…”The conflict between humans and elephants had gone up since the ban was introduced in 2014.

Tourism is the second source of foreign income in Botswana after diamonds and conservationists fear that the former will be affected is the government cull elephant.
[Rough and Polished]

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