The environment is our greatest resource, and unfortunately we humans are not always very good at looking after it, the earth has been home for a long time and if we don’t work together to change our behaviour it won’t last for future generations! That’s why at Kitesurfing Lanka and Vayu resort we’re working to make a difference through the small every day things we can all do. It’s easy to look at the huge problem we’re facing and think you as an individual can’t make a difference, but every little helps and any effort we make brings us closer to our goals.
We’ve always been keen on sustainability and from the very start we’ve tried to recycle as much as possible around the camp, you can see it in the artwork from the toaster plant containers to the traditional carts and canoes scattered through the camp, but that’s not all we’re doing.
From the beginning we’ve had regular beach cleanups, and we always try to involve the local community, as we hope that through education we can all make the beaches in Sri Lanka a nicer place to be. It’s not uncommon for us to fill 50-100 bags of trash from a few hours on the beach, and that’s just in a small area out in front of the camp or near our teaching area. Imagine how much there must be around the whole of Kalpitiya or even the whole Sri Lanka, it’s truly staggering! It always feels like an uphill struggle as you can clean it one day and the next high tide brings another few tons onto the beach, but if we did nothing it would be even worse.
We also run community outreach programs to try and involve and educate the local population, especially through the schools as the next generation are the ones who will be cleaning up the mess we leave behind. Through these programs we hope we can drive a movement from the ground up in Sri Lanka and change public perception and attitude, for too long it’s been acceptable to just throw your trash on the floor wherever you happen to be standing, and that needs to change.
One big change we made at the camp a few years ago was to stop selling plastic bottles through the bar, now only using recyclable glass bottles, as well as stainless steel straws so we can stop a lot of the waste right at the source. We also provide drinking water in recyclable 19l containers with filters to all our guests, as well as glass bottles they can use during their time with us, which eliminates a lot of the plastic drinking bottles they’d otherwise be using. As you can see from the video below plastic waste is a huge problem in Sri Lanka so any small thing we can do is a step in the right direction, and we’re very pleased with the results so far.
This season we’re very pleased to have Michiel and Margriet on board who will be the driving force behind making the camp even more ecologically sound, and they have some great ideas for moving forward.
The first mission will be planting various herbs and plants at KSL, which we hope to use to make our own eco friendly soap, cosmetics and sun protection. Already in the shop we’re offering home made eco friendly sun protection, and we hope to add more to the menu as we progress. Michael and Margriet will be running classes at KSL and in Kalpitiya to hopefully get foreign guests and locals making their own, so at the end of the workshop you’ll have Ayurvedic soap, aftersun, and lip balm to take home with you. Not only that but we’ll use the proceeds to teach the locals and hopefully eventually KSL will go completely eco in the whole camp, and no longer be reliant on all the usual nasty chemicals!
They will also be running our local cleanup efforts, working with the community to craft trash sculptures and instruments. We hope through these efforts we can engage the local kids in the creative arts as well as teaching them valuable lessons about recycling and their amazing environment. Our aim isn’t just to improve KSL, but also to improve the whole local area, working with other schools, camps and locals to really make a difference for Kalpitiya. It will benefit everyone if we can keep the beaches, coral reefs and the area itself as clean and beautiful as possible.
The long term goals will include going fully renewable for all our power needs at KSL, and they even want to create a fleet of electric tuktuks, which is a great mix of sci-fi and Sri Lanka that we’d love to see!