The lack of a proper dedicated management strategy in the Red Sea governorate has
led to an unacceptable accumulation of waste throughout the entire area of the Red
Sea. To make matters worse, the generally strong winds blowing in the Red Sea has
resulted in dispersed low density waste throughout the entire ecosystem. Piles of
solid waste can be found in the desert and sea, which has had devastating impacts
on wildlife and their habitats.
Lack of an effective solid waste management system has dire impacts on the environment
locally and globally. Plastic bags and bottles are very often seen floating about
in many of our most popular dive sites. Plastics don’t fully decompose and break
down into smaller pieces that are ingested or absorbed by organisms all through
the food chain. In many documented cases marine mammals and turtles mistake these
plastics for food and die a slow and painful death by choking or entanglement. In
2006 70% of deceased marine turtles in the Egyptian Red Sea are believed to have
died due to the ingestion of plastics.
Solid waste does not only impact mega fauna. Corals are often smothered by waste
or shaded from sunlight, which is indispensable to their survival. The magnitude
of the adverse impacts of solid waste on our ecosystem is frightful. If only 5%
of the plastic bags disposed of in Hurghada end up in the sea, it is estimated that
they would lead to the death of more than 250 seabirds and 25 marine mammals every
month. Needless to say, the impacts on the ecosystem and on human health are disastrous.
An effective and comprehensive solid waste management plan can save our environment
on a local scale by alleviating the disastrous effects of the solid waste on wildlife,
and on a global scale through the preservation of the re-usable resources in the
solid waste. If the paper based materials in Hurghada’s waste are recycled they
would save more than 500 trees, 40,000 liters of oil, 79,500 liters of water, 69m3
of landfill space and 120,000 kilowatts of energy everyday!
We aren’t usually aware of the entire “lifecycle” of the “items” we use on a daily
basis. By carefully analyzing the matter you can begin to understand that even as
a simple consumer, every move we make plays a role in undermining the equilibrium
of the world’s eco-system.
HEPCA’s strategy is to work both on a regional scale and on an individual level.
HEPCA is effectively managing a majority of the solid waste of the Egyptian Red
Sea, while simultaneously spreading awareness about what we can do as individuals.
The key for us as individuals is the 3 Rs campaign; Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Real
change in individual’s daily practices is a big part of HEPCA’s Red Sea solid waste
Although environmental conservation is the ultimate goal of this campaign, it also
focuses on the public health risks associated with the lack of an effective solid
waste management system, the economic impacts of environmental degradation, the
lack of hygiene, and the aesthetic pollution caused by pileups.
HEPCA’s comprehensive solid waste management strategy for the Red Sea was formulated
in cooperation with USAID, the EEAA, the National Parks of Egypt and the Association
for the Protection of the Environment, and private sponsorships including The Coca
In 2009 HEPCA embarked on the first steps of this strategy when it became solely
responsible for the solid waste management system in the southern Egyptian Red Sea,
in accordance to a protocol signed with the Red Sea Governorate. The comprehensive
solid waste management system in the southern Egyptian Red Sea includes everything
from door to door collection, to material recovery, and a recycling component.
In February of 2010 HEPCA took on the Hadaba Cleanup Campaign; a yearlong campaign
aimed at implementing an efficient solid waste collection system and more importantly,
to insight a change in the solid waste disposal habits of the community in this
district of Hurghada.
So successful was this campaign that HEPCA was assigned the responsibility of waste
management for the entire city of Hurghada; a city that is estimated to host around
250,000 people and produce nearly 300 tons of waste on a daily basis.
There is absolutely no way that we would be able to undertake this challenge without
the cooperation of individual community members.