Embracing Conservation at Kinasi Lodge
“Preserving and/or restoring the environment by utilizing natural resources, traditional systems and knowledge sustainably”.
We wish to reassure our guests that we are as “green” as possible and continue to do whatever we can to minimize our impact and that of our guests.
AT KINASI LODGE……
OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
We have utilized the WWF website (see http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/ and http://wwf.org.uk/oneplanet/youcan/) to determine our ecological impact and taken recommended remedial actions to reduce our energy consumption or modify how we do things. In fact most planet-saving actions simply make good economic sense. For example we have placed energy-saving bulbs wherever we can and we sail the dhows from dive and snorkel sites whenever possible (rather than use outboard engines). We buy locally all the produce we can (it is uncontaminated by any pesticides) and this includes seafood and fruit; vegetables come from Tanzania’s southern highlands.
SOLAR HOT WATER
We have equipped all our hot water supply points with solar collectors, to avoid the use of electrical heating.
We have a programme in place for limiting electricity use, including the use of energy saving bulbs and low wattage lights.
BIOGAS and COMPOST
We have constructed two biogas production units that utilise the organic kitchen waste. The gas output is about 8 hours of continuous burn for a single burner each day. This covers all our baking and roasting, which is a great saving in these days of very high gas costs.
The other output is an excellent compost for our gardens.
WATER CONSUMPTION and GREY WATER RECYCLING
We are building a complete grey water recycling system for handling the laundry and kitchen water so that we can improve our gardens and recharge underground aquifers. We supply our own water from three wells on Kinasi land.
Kinasi no longer uses any charcoal for its cooking and barbecuing. We use fallen wood or cleared wood that is the result of cutting back trees on our land, especially old and diseased cashews. We plant many trees for every one that is felled and where possible we trim rather than cut down a tree.
The production of charcoal using traditional methods in Mafia is wasteful and inefficient and destroying the remaining native hardwood trees, mainly to supply the voracious Zanzibar market. We are currently actively pressurizing the Government authorities and the Marine Park management to halt this trade, which has already been declared illegal (in 2004).
SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT
As with any hotel the removal and proper disposal of solid wastes is a problem. The organics are recycled for biogas and compost, but cartons, plastics and bottles are more difficult. Luckily there is much less packaging in Africa than in the developed world and we reduce it further before sending groceries to Mafia. Any materials that are not used as containers by the local people are returned to the mainland to be properly dumped in Dar es Salaam.
CONTROLLING INTRODUCED PESTS
One of the man-made woes in Mafia is feral dogs and cats and the scavenger birds like black kites and African pied crows; common rats can also be a problem (bush babies and squirrels we forgive). Worse still, the Indian House Crow has arrived in Mafia, after over 100 years in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam. So we have embarked upon a crow trapping and feral dog shooting programme to reduce the impact of these problem animals (my letters and appeals to the Warden-in-Charge of MIMP have been unanswered). We have a special trap for the disposal of crows and make sure that all our wastes and bins are unable to be scavenged. We also have a “burial pit” which is fenced-off from feral dogs, cats and crows, to deal with any solid wastes not handled by recycling.
Mosquitoes are always a worry for all of us. There are three species that are of concern in Mafia: Anopheles, Aedies egypticae and Culex quinqefasciatus. We deal with each type by destroying their habitats for breeding (clean water for Aedes and Anopheles, septic water for Culex) and/or interrupting the larval life cycle. Unfortunately we cannot stop mosquitoes reaching us from neighbouring areas so to deal with these live mosquitoes and sand midges we have two machines which attract s the insects by using carbon dioxide as an attractant.
SLASH and BURN AGRICULTURE
The slash and burn system of land use is still practiced widely in the north of Mafia where natural forest and bush is clear-felled for annual crops of maize, cassava, pigeon peas, sweet potato, pumpkins and fruits. The result is erosion and rapid leaching of nutrients as there is no ground cover when the rains arrive. To make matters worse there has been a massive die-off of coconut palms in Tanzania since 2005 as a result of a virus that attacks the palm; the impact is worse in drier areas and the north of Mafia has been severely affected, further depleting ground cover.
We are now working with the people of Bweni and Kanga villages in the north of Mafia to alter the system away from the destructive use of fire by introducing permanent tree crops such as oranges, grapefruit, tangerine, pumelo, passionfruit, mulberry and some spices including cinnamon, black pepper and vanilla that will grow well in Mafia where the soils are generally poor and there is a long dry season. We expect to increase value added for farmers with higher value crops and a greater “mix” of produce in an integrated mixed farming system. Some farmers will also adopt honey production that we first initiated in the south of Mafia in 1993 (a project later taken over by WWF-Mafia Island Marine Park) which will also help pollination of fruit and spice crops. This project is being led by Peter Byrne, an agricultural economist who specializes in land use and mixed tropical farming.
COMMUNITY CONSERVATION in PRACTICE
This term is oft-used but seldom practiced or understood. In Bweni in the far north of Mafia the village council has put it into effect, with strong procedures and controls on use of natural resources. For example: lobster harvesting using scuba equipment is prohibited, to avoid over-fishing; drift, drag and moored nets are no longer permitted due to their negative impacts; there are stringent rules applied to tree and pole harvesting for construction of houses, boats and canoes. We are now supporting these initiatives with complementary actions that have been requested by the village council, including tree planting of useful species such as teak and casuarinas (to supply hardwood poles) and improving value added in the fishery with refrigeration.