Story of the Eco Bags
October 21st 2022, was a heartbreaking day for the people of Moshi town that resided on the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. The majestic mountain that stood tall day after day giving stunning views through windows and car windshields now had a warm glow – Mount Kilimanjaro was on fire.
The following day, we were promptly updated by senior officials from Kilimanjaro National Park, who quickly arrived at the location. A patch of sparse plant life, situated approximately 4,000 metres high in Karanga Valley, was ablaze. While the fire was near Millennium Camp, it posed no immediate danger to the groups traversing the route. Park rangers were dispatched to examine the affected area, while the National Park Service initiated plans to combat the fire.
Although the cause of the fire was not clearly established, it is common knowledge that trash that is not properly disposed of can easily be a reason that fires like these can start. Determined to protect this natural wealth, we took inspiration from our partner India Hikes to take action to save the environment and do our bit within the trekking community. We would like to thank India Hikes in enabling us to take action as a solution to help move towards eco-tourism: The Eco Bags.
As the ZAFS team trekked up Mount Kilimanjaro, they witnessed reckless waste disposal firsthand. The once pristine trails were marred with plastic bottles, wrappers, and other debris. To make matters worse, these discarded materials had become fuel for dangerous fires that threatened the delicate ecosystem. Determined to reverse this alarming trend, the team knew they had to act swiftly and decisively.
After much brainstorming and research, the ZAFS team devised the idea of carrying the iconic Eco Bags used by India Hikes. These specially designed bright yellow-coloured bags that strap around the waist, would be distributed to all trekkers and guides embarking on the Mount Kilimanjaro journey. The bags were not just intended for personal waste; they encouraged everyone to collect and dispose of any trash they came across during their trek, thereby ensuring a cleaner and safer environment for all.
Sustainability in Practice:
The implementation of Eco Bags sparked a ripple effect of change, firmly establishing a sustainable practice for eco-tourism on Mount Kilimanjaro. Here are a few examples of how this ingenious solution has fostered a greener future:
1. Enhanced Waste Management: By carrying Eco Bags and actively picking up trash, trekkers and guides take responsibility for their environmental impact. This simple act has significantly reduced the amount of waste left behind on the mountainside.
2. Preserving the Ecosystem: Collection of trash now ensures that one big cause of fires is eradicated. The absence of waste as fuel has helped protect the delicate flora and fauna, allowing the ecosystem to thrive and regenerate.
3. Educating and Inspiring Others: The adoption of Eco Bags has sparked a positive change in mindset among trekkers and guides. It has become a symbol of responsible travel, setting an example for future generations and encouraging them to preserve the natural wonders of our planet.
4. Collaborative Efforts: The Eco Bags initiative has united various stakeholders, including tour operators, guides, and local communities, in a shared goal of preserving Mount Kilimanjaro. This collaborative spirit has paved the way for innovative eco-friendly practices across the tourism industry.
Through the remarkable story of the Eco Bags, ZAFS Tours has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to preserving the natural beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro. By tackling the issue of waste head-on and engaging trekkers and guides in a sustainable practice, we aim to pave the way for a brighter, greener future. As travellers, it is our collective responsibility to leave a positive impact on the destinations we visit. So, the next time you embark on an adventure, remember the tale of the Eco Bags and be the change our planet needs.
With ZAFS Tours and the Eco Bags initiative, let’s embark on an unforgettable journey to Mount Kilimanjaro, embracing eco-tourism at its finest. Together, we can protect our planet, one step at a time.