Tag Archives: Earth is our Home

Sun, Sand and a ‘Green’ Christmas

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Hope you all had a wonderful festive season with friends and family.I had the pleasure of spending this festive holiday season at The Al Aqah at Fujairah. Having had a wonderful time with the husband and kids amidst nature’s bounty, I thought it would wonderful to share with you all my ‘Green’ Christmas story.

AS I enter the spacious lobby at Le Meridien’s Al Aqah beach resort in Fujairah for my much-awaited staycation, I cannot wait to be amidst nature’s bounty. To unwind and get attuned to the melodious music of the waves from the vast Indian Ocean as they wash the shoreline, drink into the breathtaking sight of the majestic Hajar Mountains and take a dip in the blue waters of the large free-form swimming pool.

However, the air of festivity with colorful Christmas decorations adorning the walls and ceiling distract me from my holiday musings. It takes me less than a fraction of a second to notice that the stars have been cut out from empty cans, the snowman created using empty toilet paper rolls, empty tissue paper boxes and tissue rolls have been wrapped in colorful wrapping paper that double as pretty gifts and over-sized chocolates swaying from the ceiling. As for the Christmas tree – every branch is lined with an assortment of used green-colored wine bottles cut to perfection.

Why would a five-star hotel use ‘used’ leftovers to create a Christmas theme?

My curiosity leads me to a meeting with the Duty Manager, Mr. Sreekanth Cherukot. Amidst handling the innumerable challenges of managing a hotel that is running on full occupancy owing to the holiday season coupled with the more-than-pleasant weather, he gladly takes time out to answer my queries over a cup of coffee. Upon raising the sustainability initiatives that piqued my interests, he is quick to place a call and introduce me to the mastermind behind this ‘green’ initiative – Mr. Hari Sudhakar.

Mr. Hari explains that he and his team of three ‘green creators’ have painstakingly cut to size a three month’s worth collection of wine bottles with a glass cutter specially bought for this purpose. They have been then suspended after having the sharp edges tactfully taped in black insulation, in order to ensure the safety of excited children, Mr. Hari explains. The bottom half of these bottles have been saved up to be doubled as flower vases and candle holders that will soon add to the décor of the restaurant and common areas at the hotel.

Mr. Hari explains that Christmas 2015 had a Christmas tree that was made using empty water bottles. This ‘out-of-the-box’ green initiative has not only helped reuse waste that would otherwise add to the rapidly increasing mountain of non-biodegradable waste at the landfill but has helped effectively reduce the costs spent on ‘dressing up’ the property for Christmas.

From the optimum use of reusable hand towels instead of disposable paper tissues in all washrooms as well as ensuring that the all air conditioners in rooms have been preset to an optimum temperature that will automatically switch off upon opening windows to using a reverse-osmosis desalination plant to tap the abundant natural resources available – this  resort is striving to pave its long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability with a goal of achieving zero footprint as it proudly stands as the ‘Emerald on Fujairah’s Beautiful Crown’.

 

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Christmas Tree with Wine Bottles Cut to Perfection

 

 

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Snowman made assembling empty tissue rolls illuminated with lights

 

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Stars cut from empty cans

 

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Another creation made using empty bottles

 

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Empty Tissue Rolls and Tissue boxes have become wrapped gifts

Picture Courtesy Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort 

 

 

 

 

Time to go back to basics

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This is an article that I wrote for The Gulf News Daily and was delighted to find it published in the Newspaper. This was written for the topic Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  I wanted to share this joy with my virtual friends as well as remind you all about a beautiful past when life was so much simpler and the Earth was so much happier. 

I, like every one of you, am definitely for the evolving technology and resulting convenient means of living but can’t we do it all with a thought for the home that we live in? 

Please let me know what you think!

During my last visit to India, a trip to the supermarket found me at the counter with a value bag of diapers and packets of milk, but no handy bag to carry my purchases home. I trudged home clumsily balancing my purchases, having refused to buy a plastic bag. In hindsight, I am pleased that my annoyance not only saved me the money that the supermarket charged for a single plastic carry bag, but also the journey of another plastic bag from a supermarket counter to the already rising pile of undecomposed plastic, not to mention the cost of manufacturing, storing, distributing and recycling them.

Before the plastic revolution, every visit to the market place or even to a nearby bakery or provision store meant carrying with us a cloth or jute bag to bring home our purchases. Vegetable vendors would put all purchases directly into our bags, while a monthly trip to the provision store saw us take big jute bags that could carry the load of our monthly purchases.

A list of our requirements were handed over to the owner of the store who sat behind his desk, surrounded by sacks of rice and pulses, with an array of glass jars that contained several mouthwatering treats ranging from chocolates, sugar-boiled candies, home-made cookies and savories. The owner would call out the items on the list as his deft workers measured and wrapped up each item in newspaper, held together by a jute rope with such precision and speed. Apart from a handful of necessities that came readily wrapped in colorful plastic, every other purchase was bought loose as per our requirements.

Even milk was collected in glass bottles that were placed at our doorstep that later upgraded its packaging to plastic, which were recycled at the end of the month. The last Sunday of every month saw my brother and me waiting for the ‘paper-bottle’ man, who would buy old newspapers, bottles, plastic cans and milk packets.

It was a simple life with simpler needs, which yielded little to no waste after ‘selling off’ what could be reused to be recycled. The plastic revolution, the advent of supermarkets with its wide variety of readymade purchases with customers spoilt for choice, is no more a luxury but a burning necessity in our technologically advanced easy life.

The Indian government’s ban on plastic carry bags (or their exorbitant rates) might seem like a drop in the ocean, but it’s the beginning of a mission that is a worthy cause!

 

Here is a link for the same : http://gulfnews.com/your-say/your-view/time-to-go-back-to-basics-1.1928233