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Maya Bay is one of Thailand’s most famous beaches but worries over damage to its coral reefs will close it during low season to help it recover. Photograph: ColorPlayer/Getty Images

The bucket-list beach on the island of Koh Phi Phi Leh became famous when it featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, but environmental concerns mean it will close to tourists from June

It is one of the world’s most famous beaches, thanks to its starring role in Danny Boyle’s film of Alex Garland’s bestselling novel, and is often referred to simply as “the beach”. However, this summer Maya Bay, on the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, will be closed to tourists as authorities attempt to reverse decades of damage done to the region’s marine environment.

The closure will take place from June to September, during the island’s low season, in order to give its coral reef time to recover. While similar measures have been introduced on other Thai islands – in 2016 local authorities closed Koh Tachai – it is the first time tourists will be forbidden from visiting Maya Bay.

Read the full article here.

By  for The Guardian.

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Photo credit: CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) Taiwan plans to ban single-use plastic drinking straws in fast food chains beginning 2019, in a war on plastic waste, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said Tuesday.

According to the timetable, the EPA plans by 2020 to expand a restriction on providing customers with free plastic shopping bags to all retail stores that issue uniform invoices, while imposing a blanket restriction against offering plastic bags at all stores and studying the feasibility of raising the prices of plastic bags by 2025. A blanket ban on plastic shopping bags is set to be introduced in 2030, Lee said

Read the full article on Taiwan’s planned bans until 2030 here.

By Wu Hsin-yun and Evelyn Kao for Focus Taiwan News Channel.

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Supporters of an ivory ban protest outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, China January 31, 2018. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

“We now need to see all other countries close loopholes that still allow the illegal trade of ivory to continue.”

Lawmakers in Hong Kong voted to ban all ivory sales in the territory on Wednesday, a move environmentalists hailed as a definitive measure to help curb elephant poaching.

The policies represent a massive step forward in the fight against elephant poaching across Africa and in parts of Asia, where the animals are slaughtered for their tusks. Environmentalists estimate more than 33,000 elephants are killed every year to help feed the demand for ivory, which is seen as a status symbol in some Asian countries.

Countries including Thailand and Vietnam are now the largest remaining markets for the ivory trade, and officials are calling on more sweeping bans to be instituted around the globe.

Read the full article here.

By Nick Visser for the HuffPost.

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People enjoying elephant ride in Chitwan National Park, on Saturday. Photo: THT

Amid increased activism by global animal rights activists against elephant ride, jungle safari operators based in Chitwan and Nawalparasi have demanded that the government come up with a regulations with minimum conditions to be fulfilled for using elephants for tourism and wildlife conservation.

Stating that elephant is a crucial part of Nepal’s wildlife tourism and conservation, they said banning their use completely would have an adverse impact on tourism, which is one of the major contributors to the national economy. At the same time, it would also hamper conservation efforts, and put at risk the livelihood of elephants in captivity.

According to elephant safari operators, tourism also provides livelihood to elephants in captivity. They say these elephants are not only earning money for the tourism business, they are ahelso earning for themselves.

Read the full article about the jungle safari operators’ demand for regulations here.

By Himalayan News Service for The Himalayan Times.

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Image source: glasgowlive.co.uk

The move comes after a nationwide campaign by environmentalists to cut plastic water bottle use by tens of millions each year.

A popular west end restaurant has become one of the first businesses in Scotland to tap into the free water revolution.

Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchen on Ashton Lane has signed up to a nationwide Water UK Refill App which allows passersby to fill their reusable water bottles in bars, shops and cafes at no cost.

Read the full article here.

By Magdalene Dalziel for Glasgowlive.co.uk

Read more about who else has been joining the new drinking water network here.

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2018 Top100 Call for Nominations

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Sustainable tourism is the biggest movement that the global travel industry has encountered in a very long time indeed – and it’s our job to make sure that you really benefit from it.

One such major initiative is the Global Top 100 Sustainable Destinations. Now in its 4th year the Top100 Sustainable Destinations is exactly what its name indicates – showcasing the best of the best in the world of tourism.

By publishing an annual list and by sharing destination management good practices and success stories, the initiators wish to acknowledge initiatives making tourism destinations more sustainable, responsible and better from a visitor experience point of view. Selection of a destination in the Top 100 does not mean it is fully sustainable. It means that it has made good efforts, and is making progress.

February 15, 2018 is the last day for “early-bird” nominations; May 1, 2018 is the last day for nominations.

Learn more.

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Climate Change Is Complex. We’ve Got Answers to Your Questions.

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Illustration: Jon Han

We know. Global warming is daunting. So here’s a place to start: 17 often-asked questions with some straightforward answers.

Read the full article to get some clarity and understand the difference between climate and weather.

By Justin Gillis for the New York Times

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Thanks to a camera trap, a polar bear unwittingly makes a self-portrait in Svalbard. PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL NICKLEN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Lack of sea ice is making it more difficult for polar bears to find food.

When photographer Paul Nicklen and filmmakers from conservation group Sea Legacy arrived on Baffin Island in late summer, they came across a heartbreaking sight: a starving polar bear on its deathbed.

Nicklen is no stranger to bears. From the time he was a child growing up in Canada’s far north the biologist turned wildlife photographer has seen over 3,000 bears in the wild. But the emaciated polar bear, featured in videos Nicklen published to social media on December 5, was one of the most gut-wrenching sights he’s ever seen.

“We stood there crying—filming with tears rolling down our cheeks,” he said.

Read the full article and watch the video here.

By Sarah Gibbens for The National Geographic.

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Screen capture ThinkPhi

A pair of Indian entrepreneurs has developed what they claim is “the most advanced integrated plug and play system” for shade, water, and energy.

Solar canopies and carports, which can provide shade underneath them while harvesting clean energy from the sunlight that hits them, can be a great asset in both public and private spaces, but the startup ThinkPhi goes one step further with its flagship product. The company’s model 1080 not only produces renewable electricity from the sun (and stores it in integrated batteries), but it can also collect and filter rainwater.

The product, which looks a bit like an inverted umbrella, features solar panels on the top surface, as well as a canopy to collect and funnel the rainwater into the filtration chamber, and integrates LED lighting underneath it.

Read the full article on these solar canopies here.

By Derek Markham for treehugger.

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Credit: Olivier Kugler

When you think of sustainable travel, what comes to mind? Gorilla trekking in Uganda, perhaps, or a sojourn in a remote yet well-appointed eco-lodge in the forests of Costa Rica, or even a luxurious stay at a Galápagos safari camp with an infinity pool and locally made teak furniture. If these high-cost trips are what pop into your head, your picture of what qualifies as sustainable tourism is not necessarily wrong — it’s just incomplete.

The term sustainable travel has been inextricably tied to opulent eco-travel. Fueled by a desire for guiltless extravagance and increasing attention paid to climate change, sustainability became a misused, industrywide buzzword associated with far-flung, expensive trips.

But sustainable tourism doesn’t have to be expensive.

 

Read the full article on how sustainable travel can be budget-friendly. 

 

By Lucas Peterson for The New York Times.

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