The latest initiative from the MakeMyTrip Foundation in India is to remove all single use plastic from Neil Island.
With a vision to create awareness and invest resources that support sustainable tourism across India the MakeMyTrip Foundation is a public charity trust. Promoting ecological balance, restoration and development of its Indian heritage and responsible tourism, the foundation also supports community welfare.
Leading previous projects including the plantation of trees across two mountainous states, travel support for the blind and zero waste destinations, the foundation has now launched a no single use plastic project on Neil Island.
Alongside the foundation is MakeMyTrip Ltd, one of India’s leading online travel companies, offering transport, accommodation and various other tourism services across India.
“Travel is a force for good and we need to ensure it makes net positive contribution to people and places,” said Deep Kalra, Founder and Group Executive Chairman of MakeMyTrip. “As a large business that helps millions travel, we also have the responsibility to do our bit to protect the destinations we love and admire for generations to come.”
As one of the Andaman Islands, Neil Island sits in the Bay of Bengal.
Whilst attracting tourists to visit the natural rock formations of Howrah Bridge, coral reefs of Bharatpur beach and the picturesque bay of Neil Kendra Village, the neighbouring Rose Island is home to a turtle sanctuary and the India national park. The area is one of the most popular destinations for tourists to the Andaman Islands and has seen a rise in tourism. Snorkelling and diving are popular activities.
The latest project of removing single use plastic from the island began this March. Set with the vision of sustainable tourism and ecological balance, the aim is to provide the necessary resources whilst helping visitors make their own responsible choices.
Working with accommodation partners as well as local communities, facilities including toilets, showers and locker rooms will be installed in beach areas. Reusable bottles are to be distributed to tourists, green activities will be promoted, there will be an improvement in waste management and plastic scavenging drives shall be put in place.
“We are excited to roll out this ambitious project in Andamans to make a timely start in ensuring that we can help grow tourism responsibly in one of the fastest growing domestic tourism destinations in India,” said Deep.
Activities have previously been carried out across the islands to combat the plastic problem.
500 kilograms of waste was collected by children, police, Panchayat members, hotel employees and foundation members during a plastic scavenge across various beaches and Natural Bridge in Shaheed Dweep. Plastic bottles of less than two litres have been banned by the Andaman administration and plastic crushing machines have been installed across the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Chetan B Sanghi, Chief Secretary, Anadaman and Nicobar Islands said: “Tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the economic growth of Andamans and we are confident that environmental initiatives from industry players will help steer tourism growth on a truly sustainable path. MakeMyTrip is making a commendable effort to holistically promote responsible tourism in Andamans and we appreciate the endeavour to involve local communities as part of this project.”
In house, the foundation said no to single use plastic in 2018 when MakeMyTrip pledged to no longer use it. Plastic cutlery, straws and cups were replaced with steel, wood and paper. Employees and volunteers were also provided with reusable bottles for hot and cold drinks.