WWF-Kenya recently partnered with the Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda to recognise and reward best performing facilities in waste management in the Mara ecosystem. The partnership aims to raise awareness on the need for appropriate waste management and encourage more facilities to adopt the technology.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) is one of the top global tourist destinations, receiving thousands of visitors weekly. This makes investment in tourism facilities necessary to preserve this unique habitat. One of the main problems associated with such large numbers of tourists is the capacity of institutions such as hotels, camps and lodges to manage wastewater discharges. Poor wastewater management risks contaminating the Mara River and groundwater.

Mazingira Awards for Best Wastewater management in the Protected Areas. © WWF-Kenya

This threat has immense consequences given that the Mara River is a lifeline for hundreds of local people as well as the species of the iconic Mara ecosystem; home to the world’s greatest wildlife migration phenomenon considered the 8th wonder of the world.

The startlingly nostalgic landscape has well over 200 hotels and lodges strategically located on the banks of the main river, and its tributaries. The proximity of the facilities to the river banks is primarily meant to take advantage of the river water for magnificent views, especially for those with interest on the diverse aquatic biota including hippos, crocodiles and birds.

These fortuitously pose great threat to both biota and communities living downstream as effluent from laundry, washrooms and kitchens often leak into the waterways as some of the hotels do not have appropriate wastewater management or the facilities have been over stretched beyond limits and therefore not meeting set discharge standards.

Joyce Isiaho, Director of Business Development & Communications. © WWF-Kenya

WWF-Kenya, through the support of the HSBC Water Programme, has responded to this challenges in the Mara by supporting the hoteliers to adopt appropriate technology, constructed Wetlands as a sustainable wastewater treatment system. Constructed wetland systems mimic the natural function and services of a wetland, removing much of the water’s nutrient and pollutant load that would otherwise pollute water sources. The approach is environmental friendly, and makes a good business case for the mostly private sector-driven investment.

So far, 67 hotels and lodges across the Maasai Mara have been trained in the construction and maintenance of constructed wetlands. WWF-Kenya recently facilitated an audit of 20 hotels in the Mara, and recorded remarkabl progress. Those with constructed wetland had notably better quality effluent than those without.

Mazingira Awards for Best Wastewater management in the Protected Areas

Wastewater Management

2017

Award Winner

 

Sarova Mara Game Camp

Wastewater Management

2017

Runners Up

 

Spirit of the Masai Mara

Wastewater Management

2017

Second Runners Up

 

Sanctuary Olonana

 

Solid Waste Management

2017

Award Winner

 

Sanctuary Olonana

Solid Waste  Management

2017

Runners Up

 

Base Camp Masai Mara Bush Camp

Solid Waste  Management

2017

Second Runners Up

 

Cottars 1920’s Camp

Waste Oil Management

2017

Award Winner

 

Governor Camp Masai Mara

Waste Oil Management

2017

Runners Up

 

Sarova Mara Game Camp

 

Constructed wetland systems mimic the natural function and services of a wetland, removing much of the water’s nutrient and pollutant load that would otherwise pollute water sources.

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