PHNOM PENH, 15 August 2017: Journeys Within, a US-based tour company, has introduced a video illustrating a day in the life of a reusable water bottle in the hands of a traveller visiting Siem Reap, Cambodia.
It illustrates the ‘Refill Not Landfill’ campaign, which aims to cut down on millions of single-use plastic water bottles discarded in Cambodia annually.
Tour companies are encouraged to offer reusable aluminium bottles and refill stations as an alternative.
A founding campaign member, Journeys Within, spent a day filming guests visiting many of the top sights and the drinking water refill stations throughout Siem Reap.
View the “A day in the life of a reusable water bottle” video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ-DcVux87I
More than 100 partner organisations throughout Cambodia’s hospitality and tourism industry are participating in the ‘Refill Not Landfill’ campaign.
In 2015, over 4.7 million visitors travelled to Cambodia, staying an average of 6.8 days each. During that time, visitors consumed an average of two litres of water a day, many using half-litre, or 1-litre plastic bottles. This means visitors are using on average, 130 million plastic half-litre bottles every year.
That is more than 10 million bottles per month, or 355,000 bottles a day. The discarded bottles would fill up 26 Olympic swimming pools every single year, year-after-year. And that number will only grow as more tourists visit Cambodia.
Tourists visiting Cambodia witness the plastic waste ( bags and bottles) strewn around the countryside. There are no garbage collection services and the alternative is to toss the empties into a paddy field or burn them roadside.
Globally, plastic has become a plague on the planet, killing wildlife, choking seas, and filling landfills for centuries to come. Few bottles are recycled as the facilities for doing so are virtually non-existent in Cambodia, due to the gross negligence of authorities to introduce recycling projects.
But even in the United States, as little as 23% of the plastic bottles sold end up being recycled. In Cambodia, they end up in landfills or blown around the countryside, which is smothered under drifts of plastic discarded along roadways, in rice fields and gardens, and along canals and rivers, which often become blocked causing flooding and other damage.
Journeys Within Tour Company’s goal in participating in the Refill Not Landfill campaign is to help replace the average of 27.2 single-use water bottles a visitor goes through during their stay in Cambodia with one refillable aluminium bottle, which will be provided to them free of charge upon their arrival.
If the project caught on across the Mekong Region it would make a difference. Thailand for example entertains 33 million tourists a year and based on the same averages the mass of bottle waste significant even with compared with domestic consumption of bottled water.