Chapter 2: Literature Review
This chapter analyses the different issues pertaining to the issue of environmental awareness in Mauritius. It provides a brief description of the Mauritius’s marine and terrestrial lives; followed by the need for sustainable development. It also highlights the concept of environmental management and environmental pressures on the hospitality sector.
The aim of this chapter is to provide an insight of what we aim to achieve through this study.
2.1 An Overview of Mauritius’s Environment
2.1.1 Marine Life and Other Features
It is believed that Mauritius has relatively clean open seas. However, major problem concerning the marine environmental have arise on the coastal zones due to people actions and natural processes on land and at sea. The individual behaviors that impact on the marine environment are agriculture, infrastructure and hotel development, fishing, coral and sand extraction, dredging, siltation due to deforestation. While natural course of actions that have influence such environment are cyclones and wave events. Unconstructive impacts of human activities on the marine environment are manifold. It includes the following: disturbance of local ecosystems, worsening of the water quality, wearing away of shores, annihilation of coral community, declined in fish productivity, pollution of the seas by industrial effluents, sewage and agricultural runoff.
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2.1.2 Terrestrial Life and Other Features
Mauritius consists of 30% forested area, which consist of exotic plantation, deer- ranching land and natural forest which are badly degraded and has high levels of floral and faunal endemicity and has suffered high extinction rates caused by a growing human population and habitat destruction. In order to safeguard the remaining biodiversity, the government of Mauritius has established a terrestrial protected area network. The 2002 tourism development plan has considered biodiversity and tourism development through the protection of conservation areas, mountains areas, nature reserves and nature parks. Furthermore, the National Development Strategy (2003) has also incorporated strategies to protect the natural environment.
Mauritian Wildlife Foundation has completely restored Ile aux Aigrettes, which is now served as an outdoor laboratory for the regeneration and preservation of the endemic species of the fauna and flora of Mauritius and its territories.
The Environment Protection Act (1999 and 2002) has been established by the Ministry of Environment (MOE) and is considered as the main body which is responsible for the overall coordination of environmental management.
The Forest and Reserves Act (1983, amended 2003): This is the main legislation governing the management of forests resources and also designates the power to declare national forests, nature reserves, mountain reserves and so on.
The Wildlife and National Parks (1993): This act is mainly focused on the protection of flora and fauna, with the Wildlife Regulations of 1998.
2.2 Promoting environmental awareness: The “Maurice Ile Durable” concept
Maurice Ile Durable (MID) was first announced by the Mauritian Prime Minister as a long term vision aimed at promoting sustainable development. The objective of the MID program is to move Mauritius along a sustainable path and into a “green future”.
Nowadays, everything needs to be reduced: carbon emissions need to be slashed; we need to reduce electricity consumption, noise levels, reduction on fossil fuels and so on. This reduction aims at an altruistic goal: preserving the planet and making it a better place to live for future generations, that is to be sustainable. So by launching the “Maurice Ile Durable” (MID) project, Mauritius has embarked on the journey towards sustainability. This project is about redesigning the towns of the island by implementing new urbanism, an old concept which focuses on the social, environment and economic well-being of humans. The principles new urbanism are simple (street connectivity, mixed land use and diversity, green transportation) but will enable us to live an urban lifestyle in sustainable, convenient and enjoyable places while providing the solutions to peak oil and climate change.
As the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Public Utilities Dr Rashid Beebeejaun stated that “Maurice Ile Durable” project is not a slogan but a vision, each and every one has to work toward sustainability. There are household instructions that are governed in everyday life and they are as follows: “pa jeter”, “ramasser”; that is; “Do not throw”, “kept it”.
2.2.1Actions taken to achieve sustainable development
Wastewater: With a view of protecting and preserving the environment, the country is being equipped with a state of the art public sewage system, to international standards. Wastewater treatment plants, pumping stations, wastewater networks and house connection in high density population areas would be constructed.
Solid waste: In order to improve the storage and disposal of hazardous waste, an Interim Hazardous Waste Storage facility will be implemented in 2011. Also the Ministry of Local Government is presently working on a solid waste management strategy which consists of a combination of programs based on the 3R’s (Reduce, Reuse and Recycling).
Environment and land drainage: Beaches and rivers will be rehabilitated and re- profiled to guard against erosion and landscaping and embellishment works will be carried out in different places in the island. Moreover, eco- villages will be developed in some regions in order to empower the community in the protection and management of the environment. Also, drains will be constructed and rehabilitated in several regions where there are problems of flooding and water accumulation.
2.2.2 Eight commandments of sustainable development
-Energy saving – «Education a l’hygiene»
-Formation of «Ecocitoyen» -Use of renewable energy
-Recycling waste -Assistance to developing countries
-«Entreprise citoyenne» -«Commerce equitable»
2.3 Mauritius as a tourist destination
Mauritius, situated off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, has a multi- racial population estimated at 1.2 million of immigrants. The island is well known for its hospitality and inter-cultural harmony and unprecedented economic success (Khadaroo and Seetana, 2007; Soper, 2007). It is already considered as a well established tourist destination and a highly competitive player in the Indian Ocean (Archer, 1985; Wing, 1995; Khadaroo and Seetanah, 2007). Mauritius has, to date, been essentially a resort based destination with its sun, sand and sea offering (Soper, 2007).
We can say that Mauritius is no doubt one of the most spectacular holiday destinations. Swaying palm trees, dazzling Blue Ocean and dazzling smiles of local people are is enough words that describe this small island, which is attracting more and more tourists from all round the world.
Mauritius has won the trophy for best destination among the island of Indian Ocean in the 17th Annual World Travel Awards, and it can take this opportunity to target a better market. Moreover it has been ranked at the top of the platform for what is the best beach destination.
There are a number of activities and tourist places and they are considered to be simply the best one. For example; the northern part of the island is considered as a major tourist destination and tourist like going in for ride and swimming, para-sailing, surfing in the nearby beaches. Also this place has remarkable restaurants, hotels, bars, craft shops and so on. Another interesting place is Curepipe, which is known to be one of the most amazing places to visit in Mauritius, where we can find the interesting feature volcano, named as Trou aux Cerfs. Other places to visit are The Botanical Garden and the colonial houses.
2.4 Environmental awareness through Environmental Management
In the early 1980 the United Nations Environment Program saw environment management as the control of all human activities that could potentially have significant impact on the environment (Toolba, 1982). Environment management can be described as a methodology which organizations acting in a structured manner assess their operations to ensure that they are functioning in an environmentally legitimate way (Whitelaw, 1997). They define the impacts of their activities on the natural environment, subsequently proposing actions (within demand timescales) to minimize or reduce those impacts that they consider as harmful. Rhys Jones, Meinwen Pryde, Malcolm Cresser, 2005 stated that ‘an evaluation of current environmental management systems as indicators of environmental performance’, (Management of environmental Quality: An international journal Vol 16 No3 2005 pp 211-219).
Environmental management is not, as the phrase could suggest the management of the environment as such, but rather the management of interaction by the modern human societies with, and impact upon the environment. Environmental management involves the management of all components of the bio-physical environment, both living and non-living. This is due to the interconnected and network of relationships amongst all living species and their habitats. The environment also involves the relationships of the human environment, such as the social, cultural and economic environment with the bio-physical environment. Environmental management and sustainability have been recent important issues in the hospitality industry. The hotel industry, as a main sector of the hospitality industry, has benefited from environmental initiatives through improving corporate image and increasing resource and energy efficiency. The hotel industry should keep promoting green hotel practices to reduce negative impacts on the valuable environment and increase operational efficiency. In order to promote environmental management in the hotel industry, related organizations, governments, and stakeholders need to focus on raising top managers’ environmental awareness. Environment management is a broad terms, covering issues such as environmental impact (aesthetic, cultural, ecological, and social); sustainability, resource management and pollution.
The principles of environment management have been established in the framework of British standard BS7750: Environmental management systems. This standard which has many parallels to ISO 9000on quality management systems outlines a number of stages in establishing these procedures in any organization. The suggested stages are:
- Formulating environment policy
- Ensuring total commitment of all in the organization
- Carrying out an environmental review
- Determination of responsibilities within the organization
- Preparing a register of environmental effects
- Establishing objectives and targets
- Implementing management systems
- Commissioning periodic environmental audits
- Performing regular systems reviews based on performance
The first step in this process is usually considered to be the development of a written environmental policy, which should cover general principles including a total commitment at all levels of the organization, together with strategies for complying with the laws, codes and company standards, the identification of responsibility within the organization, and the involvement of partners, including suppliers, servicing companies, customers and the local community. To be totally effective, that adoption of environmental policies must come from the top. Without a commitment at the highest level of the company, it is unlikely that ideas developed throughout the organization will flourish. Some companies are starting to incorporate environmental values in their mission statements. To be effective this vision must be converted into clear objectives and targets together with effective monitoring control and communication. The next step is to conduct an environmental audit of the organization. From this it is possible to identify a number of areas for improvement which can be defined in terms of precise targets against which achievement can be monitored, (Kirk, 1995b).
2.5 Importance of Environmental awarenessfor the tourism and hospitality sector.
2.5.1Pressures on non-renewable resources such as water, energy and waste management and disposal)
Environmental issues often are limited to only the natural environment and tend to focus on issues of global climate change (especially carbon dioxide emissions and CFCs), pollution (air, water, noise, visual, and other forms), and habitat/ecosystem degradation and resource consumption (including issues of solid waste). Sustainability embraces not only typical environment concerns but also dimensions such as the three E’s- economic, environment, and equity.
The hospitality industry has addressed environmental sustainability concerns in variety of ways. Economic sustainability is a major challenge of all hospitality businesses. Correcting environmental problems can prevent hospitality firms from “Killing the golden goose,” a concern of operators whose appeal is the natural environment. Equity aspects are potentially more challenging. The distribution of the income and profits from the hospitality operations, the impacts of these operations on local communities and cultures, and the potential for the operations to not only minimize damage but also make positive contribution to the environment are just a few of many equity issues.
The hotel industry, because of the nature of its functions, characteristics, and services, consumes substantial quantities of energy, water, and non-durable products.
1. Economic Consideration
The economic dimensions of environmental actions are often both compelling and significant. Managers now understand that long-term economic sustainability and growth depend upon the nature of their environmental policies. A clean environment is a basic component of quality service and is thus important for the development of travel, tourism, and hotel industries. Sustainable prosperity of travel, tourism, and hotel business also calls for the inclusion of environmental protection components in every phase of their business venture, from preparation and application of site plans and business programs and policies to daily routine practices.
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The industry’s interest in environmental protection depends on the nature of the sector’s dominant business culture and practices. Previous research indicated that international and chain hotel management was most likely to pay sufficient attention to environmental issues (Mensah, 2005). Although some independent hotels place a high priority on the environment (IH&RA, 2004), it is hard to find environmental protection programs in small and independent hotels (Cummings, 1997; Enz & Siguaw, 1999; Kirk, 1998). Moreover environment concern and the willingness to act are strongly dependent on the hotel manager’s attitude toward change and environment, knowledge about the benefits of environment practices, perception of and relations with external environment, and organizational variables such as size, location and financial situation (Bohdanwicz, 2005a; Dewhurst & Thomas, 2003; Le, Hollenhorst, Harris, McLaughlin, & Shook, 2006).
The proponents of sustainability vehemently state that natural and tourism resources should be used and protected so that future generations will be able to benefit from these resources. This ides is supported by national, and international organizations (Appendix 1), as well as by legal provisions and agreements.
2. Waste Minimization and Management
Waste minimization and management involves reduction, reuse, recycling, and waste transformation, as well as cost structure and management of waste haulage contracts. These efforts combine to minimize the amount of waste disposed and the cost of its disposal, and help ensure that final disposal is done in an approved and environmentally suitable manner. Minimization waste generation begins with the purchasing function. Purchasing products in bulks, using products manufactured from recycled materials, controlling the usage of products to avoid waste, and working with suppliers to minimize packaging are all proven ways to minimize waste generation. Selecting products with greater durability and employing proper maintenance and housekeeping procedures reduce product deterioration and extends their functional life.
Reuse as a means of waste reduction has been practiced in the hospitality industry for many years; beverage containers such as those holding syrup concentrate and beer kegs are typical. Operators have long returned shipping trays and pallets to suppliers for reuse. Used linens can be donated to shelters or other charitable organizations for reuse. Furniture and equipment from renovation is often sold to liquidators or in other ways reused and given an extended lifetime.
Recycling as a means of conservation can be turned into revenue stream. A recycling effort will generally focus on the following materials.
- Yard waste
Purchasing records are rich source for indentifying the potential volumes of recyclable materials. It helps to know the quantity of various products purchased and the potential volume to be recycled. Some glass recycling occurs when reusable bottles are used for beverages. A significant incentive to recycle glass also comes when beverage bottles can be returned for a deposit refund.
Metals recycled in the hospitality industry are usually from beverage containers (generally aluminum) and food cans (containing steel and tin).
Paper recycling is an option available to many operations. Various types of paper- newsprint, office copy paper, and other paper- is sometimes appropriate if large enough amounts exist, since the prices for mixed paper are significantly lower than those of separated papers. Operations have also tried to add paper to composting operations; few have been successful.
Yard waste and seaweed from beach cleanups is non-existent at some operations, but if space and time permits, on-site composting of these wastes, along with non-meat kitchen waste, can not only reduce the cost of waste disposal but also provide a valuable soil and fertilizer source.
Pulping is another method of transforming waste, in which a pulping machine mixes food waste with water, grinds it up (much like garbage disposal), presses and as a result extracts water from the tank in which the waste is ground. It then expels the pulp into a holding bin. Waste does not enter the sewage system. The pulper recycles the water it sued during the grinding process. Pulpers can handle typical food service waste such as plastic, utensils and containers, paper napkins, aluminum foils, straws, milk cartons, and corrugated cardboard. Selecting and implementing waste minimization practices appropriate to the hotel property will help to address economic and environmental issues.
3. Energy Conservation and Management
Renewable energy technology such as wind power, geothermal, solar thermal, photovoltaic, and various biomass technologies are likely to advance most rapidly in the years to ahead. Energy consumption in hotels is clearly factor in their competiveness, and reducing costs and increasing sensitivity to environmental factors in hotel design will lead to the introduction of elements with less environmental impact and will create conditions favorable to the optimization of energy resources and the introduction of renewable energy technologies. The studies by Karagiogras et al. (2006), Becken and Simmons (2002) and others reveal such an orientation.
To conserve energy in hotels, such as increased profitability due to reduced operating costs, the potential for improved market share, and preservation of limited natural resources to promote sustainable development. Currently, measures aimed at energy conservation are increasingly popular among hotel mangers. The use of energy-efficient has revealed the potential savings from such technology and has promoted the use of other such appliances and as a result, is increasingly the market share of energy-efficient equipment in the hotel industry. There have been installations of renewable energy systems, and implementations of various methods for controlling energy consumption, including occupancy sensors to control lighting, energy saver power cards, computerized building management systems, low-flow showerheads, and the use of solar energy. As Deng and Burnett (2002a) indicated, the key elements of a successful energy management program should be fully integrated into a hotel’s overall management systems; in addition, there should be sound energy use, purchasing, and budgeting policies and a corresponding action plan, key staff should be trained in energy management, and managers should periodically perform environmental monitoring or auditing, as wee as assessment and evaluation of energy use and its association and evaluation of energy use and its associates costs and outcomes.
4. Management of Fresh Water Resources
Energy management and water management are important components of an overall environmental management program. Water consumption depends on the type, standards, and size of the facility, on the services and facilities offered, on the climate and irrigation needs, and on existing water conservation practices. Among water conservation measures, towels reuse programs are well established in Five-star hotels. This policy saves water and prolongs the life of materials.
Resorts operations are the most likely to pay attention to social responsibility as it relates to fresh water. Resorts proposing to build in any area need to be conscious that their large demands for fresh water will affect water supplies in the local community. These demands may also create needs for costly increases in water infrastructure that could raise the price of water for local people. And during their construction and in ongoing operations, the resort needs to pay attention to sustaining the quality of fresh water supplies by not allowing site run off or hazardous waste to be discharged into water supplies.
5. Wastewater Management
Most fresh water used by hospitality operations ends up leaving the operation as wastewater. Most commonly, local regulations govern the quality levels of water discharged from wastewater treatment plants. Market factors can clearly be influential in wastewater management. Coastal locations with poor waste water management have contaminated beaches, resulting in at an unpleasant environment and at worst illness of guest and local people. From business perspective, this is disastrous. Reef areas severely damaged by sewage discharges lose their attractiveness, which severely reduces the appeal of the operation and the local economy that depends on it for their livelihood.
Discharge of untreated wastewater to the environment is socially irresponsible. While customers may be exposed to this wastewater during the short stay of their visit, it is the local population that is most exposed both the water itself and to possible diseases the water may carry. Owners and managers need to ensure that the wastewater treatment plants in their area are operating properly.
- Where wastewater facilities do not exist, work with other companies and governments to establish appropriate facilities and procedures.
- Establish appropriate catchment ponds to ensure that potentially damaging chemicals do not enter the waste system through runoff.
- Establish programs with staff, tourist, and communities to clean up degraded aquatic environments.
- Establish emergency procedures to ensure that the aquatic environment is protected from disasters within the facility.
- Wherever possible, avoid products containing potentially hazardous substances which may way into the water system.
- Dispose of wastewater responsibly.
6. Hazardous Substances
- Toxic- substances that cause damage to health, physical or mental impairment, or death when inhaled, ingested, or absorbed; for example, pesticides and herbicides.
- Flammable- substances that can be easily ignited by sparks or flames and cause fire. Of particular concern are those with low flash points; for example, solvents and fuels.
- Explosive- substances capable, by chemical reaction within themselves of producing such a temperature, pressure, and speed to cause damage to the surroundings.
- Corrosive- materials that destroy other materials by chemical reaction. When in contact with human tissues these substances may cause burns and destroy tissue. At greatest risk are skin, eyes, the lungs, and stomach. Oven and toilet cleaners are usually corrosive.
- Infectious- substances that contain viable microorganisms and their toxins, capable of causing disease. Examples of infectious items are medical waste or contaminated food (botulism, salmonella, and legionella)
An action plan related to hazardous materials is needed and should include the following objectives:
- Minimization the use of hazardous materials
- Using more environmentally acceptable alternatives
- Limiting the use of hazardous materials to trained personnel
- Ensuring that hazardous materials are stored, labeled, used, handled and disposed of in accordance with local and international standards and regulations.
Recommended steps to include in the action plan are:
- Identify and record where hazardous materials are being used, what they are being used for, and the reasons for their use.
- Assess the hazards associated with their use.
- Identify, where possible, environmentally preferable alternatives.
- Review handling, storage, labeling, and disposal procedures.
- Compile a hazardous materials manual.
The hospitality industry obviously would not exist without means of transport for customers, employees, and supplies. The combustion of fuel by taxis, buses, trucks, planes, and ships clearly contributes to emissions and air pollution. Operators can purchase fuel-efficient vehicles, consider powering these with clean fuels such s natural gas, and encourage car-pooling and public transportation by employees.
8. Land-Use Planning and Management
- More controlled costs for development and operation.
- Reuse of existing building.
- Careful land use and planning management is appealing to customers.
- Create additional demands for land and services to accommodate transportation needs, staff housing and the general needs for the community services.
9. Involving Staff, Customers, and Communities
The development and operation of a hospitality business can benefit from the involvement of staff, customers, and the community in environmental issues. A staff empowered and involved with a property-level environmental program can be a positive contributor to the program itself and take the ideas and concepts developed outside the property into their homes, communities and cooperate with these very important stakeholders.
10. Designs for Sustainability
- Research for ways to develop new products that have minimal environmental impact.
- Research results needs to be communicated within the industry and educational community.
- Corporations need to incorporate these concepts into their policies and mission statements.
11. Partnerships for Sustainable Development
Creating coalitions to encourage sustainable development is integral to the concept of sustainability. Input and cooperation of all stakeholders is needed to achieve the economic, environmental, and equity concerns inherent in sustainability. Therefore, the challenge is to minimize the impacts on the environment, achieve equity in the distribution of costs and benefits, and operate in manner that provides an acceptable economic return.
2.5.2 Environment Management: National Policies
Environment management acts as an umbrella that covers several issues such as environment impacts, sustainability, resource management and pollution (Kirk, 1995b). The sensitiveness of this topic has raised many pertinent questions concerning the environmental soundness and the modification of the environment to human needs. This concept should be viewed as a process to implement policies for a healthy environment. People should recognise that environment protection is everyone’s responsibility. Thus, it should be tackled at all levels.
As a beach tourism destination with a weak ecosystem and limited resources, Mauritius shows great apprehensions to global environmental problems (Johannesburg Summit, 2002). The aftermaths of the degradation of environment and its impacts on the life of individuals and the economy have raise various questions concerning development in the country. Thus, this has lead to the implementation of many national polices to assess the impacts on the environment.
First of all, there has been the creation of the MOE through the Environment Protection Act in 1991. This ministry is responsible to establish national environmental standards, that is, the conception of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Coastal and Marine Zone Management (Delmas-Ferre; Eddine Said Ali; Attoumani; and Andriatahiana, Jan1999). Secondly, the Government puts forward some sectorial laws that deal with the sound management of the environment. They involve the Waste Water Act; Public Health Act; Fisheries Act; Building Act and many others that affect the environment.
The Mauritian government also establishes some guidelines for the environmental management. Some of these guidelines are:
- The Tourism Development Impact Assessment and Policy Formation (passed on 1992; however was never approved)
- The National Physical Development Plan- NPDP (established in 1993)
- Tourism Carrying capacity (carried out in 1997, but never approved)
- Vision 2020- a National long-term perspective study; it emphasizes on the importance of environment as a key factor for sustainable economic growth (p.139, Vision 2000, Vol. 1, Ministry of Economic Development and Regional Co-operation).
- The introdu
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