Chumbe Island, Zanzibar

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The used water from showers and basins is filtered through particulate filters, ending in specially sealed plant beds so that no polluted water will seep into the Reef Sanctuary. These beds are planted with species that are demanding in water and nutrients, and therefore easily absorb any remaining nitrates and phosphates.

gs_5There are composting toilets installed in the bungalows. These eco-toilets prevent sewage (from septic tanks) seeping through the porous ground into the Reef Sanctuary, (as this would lead to pollution of the fragile reef ecosystem, encourage algae growth and finally kill coral communities and organisms depending on them). Instead, human waste is quickly decomposed to natural fertilizer when mixed with compost (aerobic composting) in the compost chamber.

To ensure the experience for the guest is the same as with any regular toilet, specialized designs have been implemented with wind powered vent pipes and gradient storage so that it feels no different to using a regular toilet; except that composting toilets need no flush water at all, thus they also effectively economize on water.

Lights are powered by photovoltaic panels on the roof that provide ample environmentally friendly 12V energy for normal usage. The open design of the bungalows, with minimal barriers to the open air, allows for maximum through-draft for cooling of the bungalows; a form of natural air-conditioning. To enhance this, louvres are in place that can be lowered or closed depending on the desired temperature.

Organic soaps produced by a local women’s co-operative in Zanzibar are provided for guests. In the process of purchasing supplies, non-organic products are avoided (i.e., plastic bags) and any unavoidable non-organic waste produced by the island is removed and incinerated in a specialised incinerator constructed by the project on the main island Unguja.

Drinking water is provided by advanced filters located on the island. These effectively clean readily available tap water from Unguja, avoiding the need for mineral water in plastic bottles, which are still available for purchase, but are not readily encouraged, as they are a problematic environmental hazard in the country.

The walkways, nature trails and beach areas are not artificially illuminated at night. This protects feeding and breeding patterns of nocturnal animals, and also helps preserve and view one of the most stunning attractions of Chumbe Island: the rare giant Coconut Crabs (Birgus latro). Instead, individual solar powered torches are provided for all guests that recharge each day for use in the night.

Education Programme

Over the years, CHICOP has conducted school excursions for secondary students and their teachers to Chumbe Island. Guided by park rangers along the nature trails in the reef and the forest, the participating children benefit greatly from the insights they gain in Marine biology, Forest ecology and Environmental protection.

The excursions are in cooperation with secondary schools in Zanzibar, and consist of one-day school trips to the island that provide informal hands-on environmental education. At the same time, the trips give teachers first insight in how to teach practical field based environmental education.