El Gouna Beach resort, located in Egypt’s Red Sea governorate, has been officially recognized as the country’s “most environmentally friendly holiday destination,” the company announced in a statement.
Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism recently announced the resort is expected to be “one of the world’s top green destinations by the end of 2011.”
The Gouna community now has a “zero-waste system,” whereby over 85 percent of all waste is recycled and reused.
“We see Gouna turning into a renewable energy laboratory,” said Sherife AbdelMessih, Chief Executive Officer of Future Energy Corporation. “Even things we can’t use are recycled, compressed, and turned into tiles for sidewalks.”
The city’s organic waste is used as fertilizer for plants and gardens.
“We want to do as much as we possibly can to minimize our carbon footprint on the environment,” said AbdelMessih.
To set standards as a model for environmental sustainability, El Gouna has adopted the “green initiative,” which aims to use renewable energy as much as possible.
According to AbdelMessih, El Gouna hotels and residents also use solar water heaters, which can be found on almost every building in the city. He hopes that more hotels and companies in Egypt adopt the same idea.
“Germany is one of the countries in the world with the most solar-energy movements, while in Egypt we have more sun and we don’t take advantage of this,” he said.
AbdelMessih added that solar panels are not as expensive as people make it seem to be, in the long-run, renewable energy is much more beneficial as fuel prices are increasing and fossil fuels are slowly diminishing.
“The government makes it easier and cheaper for people to use electricity, gas, and diesel, however we are slowly running out of fossil fuels, so we should take advantage of the renewable energy that we have.”
In the city, officials have already established a waste recycling plant, wastewater management systems, a water desalination plant, and installed recycling bins in all public areas.
There is also domestic water reverse osmosis with water saving nasals that help reduce consumption.
Instead of asking the government for a pipeline for water, El Gouna had ideas to treat seawater on-site in order to make the best of their resources.
“We are using the second highest capacity machines in the world to desalinate seawater,” AbdelMessih said. “It is the second now because it is expensive, but it’s expected to become the first in the world.”
Other steps that have been taken include the initiation of farming projects to grow organic products locally.
El Gouna farm was certified by Suolo e Salute, an Italian control and certification body for food industry and environment. Companies approved by Suolo e Salute are allowed to export their organic products directly to key markets around the world.
Suolo e Salute is also accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture for the USDA-NOP label and the Ministry of Agriculture of Japan as well as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
El Gouna’s fish farm, established in 2000, makes use of rejected water from the desalinating units. In the farm, there are 10 connected fishponds, three duck houses to help fertilize the farming water, and two separate shrimp ponds.
Adjacent to the fish farm, there are also ponds containing Acacia, Eucalyptus, and Mangrove plants, which can tolerate the desert climate and salty soil.
As a result of their sustainable programs, Green Globe International, a non-profit organization that promotes environmentally and socially responsible tourism, has awarded the resort.
In December 2010, El Gouna also received first prize for best environmental practices as private business from Saudi Arabia’s Environmental Management in a ceremony that was held at Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
El Gouna is currently discussing their “Green Star” program with the Ministry of Tourism. The program, which will rate hotels based on how environmentally friendly they are, is to encourage other hotels to start adopting greener policies.
AbdelMessih added that Egypt must start engaging more citizens in caring for the environment, as it will have repercussions later on if people to overlook their affects on their surroundings and resources.
“We want people to know that being environmentally friendly is not a luxury,” said AbdelMessih.
”For 20 years El Gouna has been adopting these practices, and it is now one of the greenest cities in Egypt and the Middle East, if one city can do it, I don’t see why the Egyptian government can’t start applying these practices elsewhere,” he added.
El Gouna, established in 1990, is owned and developed by Orascom Hotels and Development.
Posted by : Memphis Tours Egypt