Two Ocean Aquarium has been announced as this year’s winner of the Gold award in the “Best Responsible Attraction” category of the 2019 African Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
This wasn’t the only accolade the responsible establishment scooped up, they also went home with a Silver award in the “Best for Global Goals Reporting” category.
“We are absolutely thrilled to receive this award and acknowledgement by our peers in the tourism industry. Tonight we certainly rubbed shoulders with the best of the best – our fellow finalists are also doing incredible work and we salute them for their contributions,” said Helen Lockhart, Communications & Sustainability Manager for the Two Oceans Aquarium. “This award has been achieved by the passionate and dedicated efforts of our staff and volunteers, all working towards the same purpose – saving our oceans. However, we recognise that we cannot achieve our vision of abundant and healthy oceans if we ourselves as a public aquarium do not act responsibly in terms of our impact on the environment and on communities, both human and non-human. This award inspires us to continue striving for the highest standards possible in every aspect of our organisation.”
The aquarium was recognized for its efforts because although it is an extremely energy-intensive task to run an aquarium due to the around the clock life support systems in place to keep the resident oceanic life comfortable, the organisation is always looking for ways to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.
With a total of 500 fitted solar panels covering 850m2 of roof space, the aquarium has managed to reduce their Eskom dependency greatly.
The aquarium has also had a waste management system for several years while reducing its overall waste from visitors and staff by 26% between 2017 and 2018. Twenty four tonnes of waste was diverted from landfill and 52% of waste was recycled in 2018.
During the height of the water crisis in early 2018, Two Ocean Aquarium also undertook various initiatives to save water, managing to save 50% of the freshwater normally consumed in 2017 and 2018.
The Aquarium’s exhibits not only showcase the beauty and wonder of the marine life which occurs off the southern African coastline, but they also raise awareness of the need to protect and conserve our ocean heritage. The core essence of the Aquarium’s brand is sustainability through environmental education and conservation.
To further inspire and empower people the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation was established in 2018. The aim of the Foundation is to promote and expand on the already excellent educational, conservation and research initiatives in the form of a registered Public Benefit Organisation.
The Two Oceans Aquarium is also home to an internationally recognised environmental education centre, where roughly 75 000 school children from around the Cape Peninsula receive formal and dedicated marine science lessons every year.
Pictures: Two Oceans Aquarium