Tripin 2017 - 2018 - page 129

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Use a cloth bag for shopping
Comfortable to carry, and durable, take a faithful cloth bag
on your travels, and fill it with items you spot along the way:
fresh mangoes, bananas, bottles of kitul treacle and bags of
peanuts.
Use biodegradable sanitary products and
nappies
If available, it is worth investing in products that will
decompose easily.
Take refillable shampoo bottles
Buy some small, travel-size bottles that you can refill with
shampoo and shower gel for each trip you take. This way
you will lessen your plastic footprint. Choosing products
that are composed of natural ingredients is an added blessing
for the environment. This is how I aim to counter the plastic
guilt that struck me whilst in Sigiriya!
Buy local snacks
Trips around the country are enhanced by the delicious
range of snacks that you can buy en route. On train and
bus journeys, sellers will often come aboard crying, “wade,
wade”. These lentil bites are best when topped with a dried
prawn. Other delicacies include a bag of warm, roasted
peanuts; chickpeas cooked with large chunks of coconut
and dried chillis, not to mention fragrant helpings of mango
and pineapple. These are generally served in small bags
made from newspaper or recycled school exercise books. If
you are offered a plastic bag in addition, politely decline. In
some inland village areas, you can also enjoy rice and curry
parcels wrapped in banana leaves, as well as halape (a type of
pancake filled with grated coconut and treacle), which you
can relish unfolding from inside a kanda leaf. This is some of
the most environmentally friendly packaging you will find!
Choose a sun cream that is
Reef - friendly
Choose a sun cream that is reef-friendly. Research carried
out in the Caribbean over the past ten years, has found that
sun creams are causing extensive damage to coral reefs;
the ingredients can have a bleaching effect, leading the life
sustaining algae that live on corals to die. Avoid lotions
that contain oxybenzone (the most common compound
found in around 3,500 sunscreens worldwide), octinoxate
and octocrylene. This way you can enjoy the wonders of
the subterranean world off sites such as Pigeon Island, close
to Trincomalee, safe in the knowledge that you are being
sensitive to the marine environment.
Practise environmentally friendly hotel
etiquette
To save energy and limit water consumption whilst staying
in coastal cabanas or tea plantation bungalows, reuse your
towel for a few days, and turn off the shower while soaping.
This is particularly important in times of water shortage.
Buy recycled and naturally made gifts to
take home
As you travel across this tropical, emerald island, enjoy
choosing gifts for yourself and others that come from
sustainable sources. Cooking spoons, made from the shells
of coconuts, make great gifts, as do recycled newspaper
tablemats and dresses created from old saris. As a talking
point, notebooks made from elephant dung paper are also
fun! It is rewarding to discover regional crafts such as lace
making in Galle, and colourful handloom weaving around
Colombo.
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