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A hotel water bottling plant. This system provides glass bottled drinking water for guests and colleagues alike, eliminating the use of more than 70,000 plastic bottles per year.
Majumder stated that in 2013 the management installed a water bottling plant. This system provides bottled drinking water for guests and colleagues alike, eliminating the use of more than 70,000 plastic bottles per year. The water bottling plant works through several filtration steps. The first step is the collection of ocean water and it gets pushed through the resort Reverse Osmosis plant. This stage purifies seawater, so it can be used for the laundry operations, flushing tanks in bathrooms or showers. The water that will be used for the bottling plant flows from the Reverse Osmosis plant into the water bottling plant. Here, it is filtrated through a carbon filter, then in a second stage gets pushed through a UV filter, and finally is enriched with minerals. The purified and enriched drinking water then gets bottled in the Jumeirah Vittaveli resort glass bottles and is distributed free of charge to guest rooms. One step further, the management introduced aluminum reusable water bottles for colleagues earlier this year and distributed them to the resort team. Also, the management has installed several water fountains in the colleagues area to refill the aluminum bottles. The management of the Jumeirah Vittaveli resort wants to reach the goal of being a plastic bottle free island in 2019.
Majumber stated that when they built Jumeirah Vittaveli on the island of Bolifushi – which used to be a small resort operating since the early 1980’s – the management took great care not to have a negative impact on the environment. The management undertook reef studies and studies of sand movement to determine how they could develop the property with minimal adverse effect on the existing environment. They were successful and managed to complete construction and open the resort with a mostly intact coral reef surrounding the island. Unfortunately, they cannot protect the reefs from natural impacts like El Nino – a temporary change in the climate of the Pacific Ocean around the equator region that increases water temperature – or drastic changes in pH value.
The Maldives experienced a devastating El Nino in 1998 when reefs suffered from extremely high-water temperatures. To support coral growth and work against these natural adverse impacts on the fragile symbiosis of coral polyps with photosynthesizing tiny plant cells, the hotel has implemented the Vittaveli Regeneration Project, an undertaking that includes regular reef surveys, the planting of new coral frames around the island, and monitoring of growth of the new corals. This project has shown very good success so far. They have determined the best environment for new corals to grow, and their resident Marine Biologist continuously works on expanding the program.
A point in their weekly guest schedule is a coral reef tour, where the management shows guests the coral nurseries and their development and educates them on the threats and dangers to the coral reefs. They also have a weekly session in the kids’ club where children playfully learn about the importance of corals and the underwater world in general. Guests may also choose to “Adopt-A-Coral” and plant their own coral on a frame. The resort marine biologist then sends them regular updates on the growth of “their” coral, so guests can see the long-term positive impact on the reefs.
The management also conducts regular reef cleaning sessions with colleagues and guests. Debris gets washed up on the reef and inhibits coral growth, and it takes ongoing and long-term commitment to protect the reefs. Ocean waste may wash up from close by islands or from large vessels traveling the seas – Majumder stated that “the management have seen large fishing nets, construction supplies, or small household waste. Even though fishing nets are forbidden in Maldives, as the country only allows line fishing, they still wash up on our shores since they are in use in surrounding countries.” Fishing nets pose a significant danger to marine life such as turtles who frequently get entangled in the nets and if not found would starve and perish. Majumder stated that the management is currently working on an initiative with UNDP in the Maldives, and they hope to build a temporary holding station for turtles at Jumeirah Vittaveli, so they can receive turtles injured from fishing nets and hold them in a safe environment until they can transfer them to a full veterinarian facility on a close by atoll.
The resort will certainly reap higher rates and revenues for the management, but that was not the reason they launched it. This exclusive hideaway provides a much-needed space for the management to take a step back from our hectic lives and focus on what is truly essential in life, the relations we have with the people who live in the resort. It will contribute to better communication inside families and groups of friends. Memories made here will be a source of joy and happiness for guests that they will carry with them forever.
In terms of community outreach, Majumder stated that “I am happy to say that the management has a very engaged and passionate team on the island. The resort colleagues founded the BOLI team (Building Our Lives Innovatively), and this team is an integral part of all the local outreach initiatives”. The leaders of BOLI are elected each year by the colleagues and traverse all hierarchy levels, from Junior up to their Government Relations Manager. The BOLI team regularly visits surrounding islands for community outreach programs and donation of essential equipment to schools, hospitals in Malé and children’s homes. Recently a permanent collaboration was established with the Children’s Autism Centre in Hulhumale, an island next to the capital city of Malé.
Amit Majumder, General Manager