Hello everyone! My name is Sarah Purvis and I am currently a "Blue Economy Ambassador" as my name tag states, which I very proudly wear every time we go out on excursions and talks. We arrived in Mauritius on the 5th of January very early afternoon, all excited and ready to embark on a journey which will play a very large role in the choices I make and the career path I choose.
I admired the marvellous Mauritian landscape on the way to the Paradis des Isles Hotel where we will be staying for the length of our stay. The volcanic mountains impressively postured around large calderas with fields and fields of sugar cane plantations dominating much of the land. Sleepiness kicked in as the gradual movement of our transportation carried on, a sense of deja vu flowed through me as I tried to remember what Mauritius looked like three years ago when I visited with family. Everything went very smoothly, I'm now currently settled comfortably with Frances Benstrong and Nathanielle Soomery who are also both Blue Economy Ambassadors and my very cared for room mates.
On Saturday the 7th January, we went to SYAH Mauritius at the Indian Ocean Commision office in Ebene where we were allowed to ask three very friendly ladies namely Karuna Rana, Megnah Raghoobar who works for SYAH Regional and Sidharta Runganaikaloo who works voluntarily for SYAH Mauritius.
As group leader of Group 3 which consists of Nikkita Rennie, Marianna Naya and myself, we will be covering Day 3 which was on the 7th of January.
I will be blogging about a talk which was given by Sidharta Runganaikaloo which was about the "Tap Water Revolution" project. It was basically persuading Mauritians to drink tap water instead of bottled water. I was pleasantly surprised that a carefree, controlled amount of chlorine is actually okay for your body.
Tap water in Mauritius conforms to the World Health Organisation's Standards, 500 samples of water are tested from different regions every month for quality and it is easily potable. Moreover, tap water is 2000 times cheaper than bottled water and much healthier! Plastic bottles release BPA's which could be cancerous and cause serious health problems if consumed in high quantities. Furthermore, it takes 3 litres of tap water to make a 1 litre bottle of water!
This initiative will put brakes on the need for producing all these plastic bottles that are of very low quality and that are the main cause of pollution. However, it can be quite difficult to convince the public to drink tap water due to the marketing strategies used by water bottling companies to advertise their product which potentially lead to a negative public perception towards tap water.
Water fountains can be introduced in local and recreational areas where people can just drink water for free instead of going into a shop and buying bottled water which will in turn help to destroy our environment. Encouraging people to invest in a good quality plastic or metal bottle which they can fill up with tap water and carry around with them is another easier alternative and SYAH Mauritius is thinking about producing glass bottles manufactured from recycled glass and sell them at an affordable price to better encourage the large population of more than 1.3 million in Mauritius. Persuading the public to make a change is very challenging which is why I was inspired by Sidharta's devotion and commitment to her personal challenges such as "Plastic Free July" and "Zero Waste January" whereby she does not use any plastic commodities such as bottled water and coffee in styrene cups and classifies her waste into bio, paper, plastic and waste respectively.
Small steps such as personal commitment is surely going catch people’s attention and if convincing, they may follow. As a young woman I am enthusiastic to go green and start really making a difference through actions and social media especially when I get back home. That’s all for now, please check out Nikita and Marianna's blogs for more about Day 3.