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Sustainability at Bawah Reserve

Bawah is remote – a fact which gives the island both its greatest advantages and most significant challenges. With Singapore being two hours by seaplane, and no other islands closer than around 30 nautical miles, this means that Bawah has an independent ecosystem. While the remoteness is a draw for adventure-seeking tourists, it also re-enforces the business case for integrating sustainability into every aspect of daily life.

Sustainability: Above, Below and Beyond

 

Above

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Owner and investor Tim Hartnoll is passionate about the opportunity this presents. “I knew that
Bawah was the one the moment I set foot on the island. When the opportunity came up to develop Bawah, it was very important to me that we followed a sustainable plan,” says Hartnoll. Bawah was developed using a ‘minimal impact’ approach – only clearing what was needed along the shore of the main island, undertaking works without machinery, and using bamboo and other locally sourced natural building materials.

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On Bawah, we also take care of the details, as we know that small contributions can collectively make a big difference. Paul Robinson, COO of Bawah Reserve, points towards use of natural products as an example.  ‘We now place a quaint blue & green bag on all the guests’ pillows. This bag is handmade by local, low income families and holds inside natural, vegan friendly products for guests to use during their stay.  We also offer our reef friendly suncream, as the usual sunscreen people use to protect themselves does incredible damage to coral reefs when it rubs off the skin, and we now provide every guest with a copper bottle for drinking water on arrival, which they can refill during their stay. This means we can avoid use of plastic bottles altogether

 

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The permaculture gardens have been transformed and Eva Giraldo Maria, Bawah Reserve’s Sustainability Manager runs the daily tours of the gardens for guests:

"Wondering if Bawah is really all that sustainable? Bawah Reserve is not only a magical place where you can reconnect to nature, it is also where you can be a part of it. Our islands are equipped with permaculture gardens and sustainability areas, and we are happy to pull back the curtain to show you our efforts and let you join in too." 

Below

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Work is now ongoing to survey the vast variety of marine life around Bawah. To date 240 species of

reef fish have been recorded on our southeastern reefs. Two marine biologists are employed on the
island, who have so far built 10 coral tree nurseries, growing a total of 600 with staghorn coral
fragments, 21 artificial reefs (hexadomes) are in the process of being installed. Fishing immediately
around the islands is prohibited, and approximately 16 tonnes of discarded fishing nets and plastic
have been removed from local reefs.

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Guests can get involved in these conservation efforts too, with opportunities to work alongside the marine biologists, and to observe work being done to protect marine turtles. Endangered turtles
such as the Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas), and Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate), nest in
significant numbers on Sanggah Island, adjacent to Bawah. Recent work overseen by our marine
biologists includes relocating turtle eggs to nests in locations where they can be better protected,
significantly improving the rate of successful hatching.  Last month over 352 baby turtles were safely released into the ocean. 

 

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As an island resort, water is a highly precious resource in our island ecosystem. Rainwater is
collected from the roofs of staff accommodation blocks and other back of house buildings, and
carefully stored for later use. Drinking water is also created using a desalination plant. This plant
removes salt and other impurities from seawater and works using reverse osmosis, micro filtration
and nano filtration.

 

Beyond

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An exciting new project has now begun to transition towards using solar power for electricity
generation on Bawah. Here again, the islands’ remote location bring challenges, but also natural
advantages given the reliable supply of sunshine. Technical options are now being evaluated and
the first phase is expected to begin soon, with installation of solar panels on the roofs of back of
house buildings. Whilst the long term goal is to use solar power to the maximum extent possible, as
with all aspects of Bawah’s development, we will take this journey towards sustainability in a careful
and considered way.

 

The Anambas Foundation

Operating in parallel and close alignment with Bawah Reserve, the Bawah Anambas Foundation (BAF) was created in April 2018 as an independent, not for profit organisation.  BAF was established to help conserve and expand the biodiversity in the Anambas Islands through a marine conservation programme aimed at protecting the coral and fish on the surrounding barrier reef and a land-based conservation programme, as well as lifting the communities’ welfare.  BAF provides a unique opportunity for guests of Bawah to help protect the beauty of Bawah for generations to come.  For more details, see https://www.bawahanambas.org/


For more details on sustainability at Bawah, see here

 

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