Ladies and gentlemen we are gathered here once again to launch yet another environmentally conscious program, the Carry In Carry Out project for Mana Pools National Park, a first of its kind in Zimbabwe.
Mana Pools is a wildlife conservation area in Northern Zimbabwe. It is a region in the lower Zambezi River where the flood plain turns into a broad expanse of lakes after each rainy season. As the lakes gradually dry up and recede, the region attracts many large animals in search of water, making it one of Africa's most renowned game-viewing regions.
Mana means â€˜fourâ€™ in Shona, in reference to the four large permanent pools formed by the meanderings of the middle Zambezi river. These 2,500 square kilometers of river frontage, islands, sandbanks and pools, flanked by forests of mahogany, wild figs, ebonies and baobabs, is one of the pristine National Parks in Southern Africa.
Manapools has the countryâ€™s biggest concentration of hippopotamuses and crocodiles and large dry season mammal populations of elephant and buffalo. It is one of our Parks which offers a wilderness experience. Because it offers a wilderness experience, the Park attracts international tourists from all over the world.
The facilities offered are self catering, and tourists bring their own food, which can be canned, bottled or packed in plastic and Styrofoam containers. Naturally these containers are thrown at refuse collection points, thus, not only creating more unnecessary work for the rangers who have to pick the litter but pauses an environmental hazard to the wildlife. It is in this regard that the Carry in Carry out concept is being introduced.
The Carry in Carry out project requires visitors to Mana Pools National Park to take their waste (bottles, cans, Styrofoam and any other non-combustibles) out of the Park with them when they leave.Â Biodegradable items shall be collected for disposal by Parks.Â All tourists into Manapools will receive a complimentary refuse bag when they check in at Marongora National Park Offices.Â In adopting this policy Zimbabwe is leading the way for the whole African continent in modeling progressive park environmental strategies.
Carry In Carry Out has its roots in the â€œLeave No Traceâ€ Environmental Movement centering around low-impact, sustainable practices that began in the United States in the late 1960â€™s.Â Many national parks around the world have adopted this initiative from the Grand Canyon in the United States to Aconcagua in Argentina to Machu Picchu in Peru- and in Africa, Mana Pools National Park is going to be the first park in the Africa continent to implement this policy.
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me emphasize that by becoming a Carry In, Carry Out Park, Mana Pools National Park will be able to maintain the pristine beauty that draws visitors to this World Heritage site from around the world.Â This initiative is part of Zimbabwe National Parkâ€™s mission to improve the sustainability of its parks and to enhance their attractiveness to all stakeholders.
Parks officials will be better able to focus on park maintenance and education programs by not having as much rubbish to collect; additionally, less fuel will be needed to keep the incinerator running, thereby reducing our carbon footprint. Â I am also informed that the Carry In Carry Out project has been on trial run in Mana Pools National Park since March 2011 and it has been successful and well received by clients.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is incumbent upon every person or authority in control or responsible for the maintenance of any place to ensure that there is an effective refuse system in place. Hence I must commend Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and its partners for taking such an initiative to ensure that wildlife is protected not only from poachers but from litter. Remember, any litter discarded in our parks can travel through storm water system to our rivers, streams and dams where it can cause harm to wildlife and aquatic life.
I therefore want to urge visitors to our parks to desist from the habit of throwing litter all over the show especially from their cars as they travel.
These waste bins have been provided at specially designated areas which are at Marongora and Chinhoyi Caves offices. The Carry in Carry out Project would lose meaning if the appropriate authority does not design adequate routine waste collection mechanisms which I am informed Parks have already put in place.
Before I conclude, Ladies and Gentlemen I would like to take this opportunity to thank Environment Africa and The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands who have shown interest and has been supportive in trying to reduce waste in Mana Pools National Park. The two organisations have financially supported this noble project.
Let me urge the Board and Management of Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to not only ensure the continued success of this project but to see to it that it is introduced in other National Parks around the country.
Together with the tourists we should aim for a litter free environment and I therefore urge all visitors to our National Parks to leave nothing but Â foot prints.
I THANK YOU.