Location: Hyatt Regency Hotel, meeting room
Topic: SWC goes clean
Attending ladies: 26 + 2 men, 14 stayed for dinner
Host: Arine
Minutes: Marjo
First of all Thanks to Mr. Stephen and his team for the warm welcome we had in The Hyatt. We very much enjoyed the free coffee, tea and especially the very nice selection of fruits and biscuits that The Hyatt offered us.
On the tables we found a questionnaire to see where the interests of the Sharm women lay, so the committee has an idea what to organize.
Arine reminded us of The SWC objectives for 2009, which are:
1) Increase interest in the SWC meetings by putting those issues on the agenda that have been identified in the first committee brainstorm, in January 2008, mainly:
-community building/ improving community services
-cultural events
-support to Bedouin population

We do not guarantee that all topics will be met, but we will try.
So if anyone has any ideas about this please contact us after the meeting or after by e mail.

2) Start a project, the first one to be in support of our environment, as this is an issue that is close to the heart of many of the Sharm women.
SWC com discussed the need to take action and we would like to see this evening as a first start of this initiative. After completing its first year of organizing our meetings, the new SWC Planning Committee is ready for more action. And what is more important for our community, than saving our beautiful and unique environment?!

Sharm el Sheikh is on the way to be announced the first example of a GREEN CITY in the Middle East. (Without a time frame)The first important steps have been taken by the local authorities: Free plastic bags are officially banned since 1.1.09, not only for Sharm but the whole of south Sinai. A new garbage collection company has started working, Sharm Ecological Services. First we watched the PowerPoint presentation, &Bringing the Charm back to Sharm&. It was an existing presentation from outside Egypt, but adapted with the pictures from Sharm by Doro and Valentina. It is a presentation mainly about the plastic bags and the horrible effects that littering of them has. The presentation has a lot of photos from around Sharm. The last two years the amount of rubbish exploded. But going around making the photos Doro and Valentina saw some improvement since last year, but it is still 5 to 12. Thanks to Doro and Valentina for this nice presentation.

Although we are a big city now we all need to do something to keep the environment healthy and to keep it an interesting place for the tourists. Today we want to explore who is interested in joining to do something about the garbage, plastic bags etc. SWC wants to explore what we as Sharm residents can do to support the timely steps taken by the authorities in order to preserve our awesome surroundings – the city, the desert and the reefs! We do see improvement, like on the Dahab road, but there is still a lot to do.

We invited Mr Said Draz, the general manager of Sharm ecological service (SES), to introduce the new garbage company: SES is a novel company that started working on 11 November 2008. From December 2008 they started to work with 126 hotels and the whole city of Sharm. As of January 1st they have a contract with the south Sinai governorate. The company raised more than 1000 tons of garbage all ready and brought it to authorized landfills with their cars.
Facts about the company:
Share holder:
1-owners of hotels and resorts.
2- south- Sinai governorate.
Equipment : 15 compactors, 4 sweeping cars, 1 sprinkling car, 2 heavy trucks, 1 medical car to collect hospital hazards.
Present activities:
1-collection of waste generated from hotels and residential area.
2- Collection of waste from institutions, shops and public areas.
3- Transportation of waste to land fills
4-sorting and recycling of collected waste
5- special cleaning and collection of Travco and airport.
6- Main roads and squares sweeping
Future plans
1- erection and operation of sanitary land fill.
2- Collection of construction waste and transportation to dump site.
3- Collection, transportation and treatment of hospital hazards waste
4- Erection and operation of incineration unit for hazard waste
5- Periodical fumigation anti insects.
6- Erection and operation of compost plant.
7- Collection of waste in the resident areas and public zone through metallic containers 1100 ltr made of galvanized steel to be dumped in automatic compactor trucks.
8-the garden and public areas will be fitted with small baskets.
Ways the (SWC) and other residents can help to protect beautiful environment:
1- Forbidden to use plastic bags in all city activity with one exception to collect garbage.
2- Encourage building a factory for industrialization the paper bags for different objects instead of plastic bags
3-make attention for all residents to collect garbage inside garbage plastic bags and do not throw it away aside and the company compactor will collect them twice a day at least.
In a few months organic waste should be in blue plastic bags. The other garbage will be collected in green bags.
After the presentation from Mr. Draz there was tine for questions and after the discussion was open. The first question was about separating the garbage. Mr. Draz was explaining that there is a big difference between the Bedouin community and the other residents. They would like to separate the garbage from the hotels, residents and restaurants with separate colored bags.
They have a complete factory in Sharm for separating the garbage which will be operating in 4 months. The company is operating but will need more time.
Plastic bags ban: the city council and the governor are behind it. But you need to make a decision for yourself, what I can do now, so Mr Draz is asking us to cooperate. By using a non plastic bag, instead of a plastic bag. Supermarkets still give plastic bags; the change will also need to come from us. The ban is from the first of January, but we still see the plastic. SSDM had this issue on the agenda as well and they brought this to the attention of the authorities. But the information campaign is missing.
Is Rowaset included in the company of Mr Draz? The answer is yes, the whole city is covered by the company. The Compounds are only included on request of the compound. Marine club area is included for example. So they clean all the residential area and the hotels with which they have a contract.
The garbage gets dropped in a landfill. They had one but now they have a new one, with bulldozers so the garbage stays there. In 4 months the factory will be active, for the separation of compost, wood and metal. The rest will be compressed. There is not yet recycling for the glass.
They are mainly thinking about the organic waste to give to the Bedouin for their animals, and to make compost. After 4 months the plastic, cans and glass will be separated as well on the plant. They will not burn the garbage. They will also separate the hospital garbage in special cars and this will be the only garbage that they will burn. The people who handle the garbage don’t wear gloves; they cannot collect all the garbage with their bare hands. 255 employees work for the company. They issued gloves, but they don’t have enough gloves at the moment. The difficulty is the high cost, 270.000 le is only spent on salary. The company finds it difficult with the expenses, for lodging etc. the hotels are not paying for their services. In Cairo and Alexandria there is an extra charge on the electricity bill, can that be done here? No, because it is a stock exchange company, so the govern

ment will not help. The company did not receive any money from anybody. Mr Draz hopes that we will see the difference his company makes. And hopes they will get some funding. His employees work in two shifts, so they are covering 24 hours a day. But the company is new and so are the employees so they will need time to sort their system out.
Thanks very much to Mr Draz, we appreciate the effort his company is making and we welcome him and the company to Sharm. Mr Draz is also telling us that there are still many projects to come but they are only starting, which will include the Bedouin community as well.

Next Ksenia, made a presentation.
She asked us did we do something about it ourselves? Did you stop using plastic when you buy something? She wants to share what she thinks we should do about the environment and all the garbage. She informed us about a website that we should have a look at. It is www.storyofstuff.com. She is also persistent that we should not only recycle, but reduce the consumption as well. Nature doesn’t leave rubbish. But the sources of nature are at an end and we are responsible for this. Ksenia also brought 8 bags for shopping in case someone doesn’t have one. And she had a useful list made with the things we can do ourselves to help. Thanks Very much Ksenia!

What can we do:
Support SES in finding a funding mechanism for their services..
We need an information campaign, Including information for the shoppers and for the one in the shop not to give out the plastic bags. Invite the managers of the big supermarkets to inform them. We need a group of people to work on this continuously. And this meeting is the beginning to start something new.
Make people understand why we don’t want the plastic bags. Find alternatives
Tell Metro not sell the paper bags, and give the plastic for free.
Raise awareness to buy the other bags
Educate people, like with Ksenias list and the slide show and go to schools and supermarkets etc
Get the different people that already do something together by Networking and linking it to make the different initiatives work. If you want to join the “Clean Sharm” environmental initiative you can join the meeting on Thursday 12th of February in the Ghazala beach hotel in the meeting room. 19.30 An open meeting for all who are interested to do something for the environment. Open for men and women. Spread the word!

One of our objectives: Culture: Photo exhibition in Rush in Dahab until mid-feb, every month another Sinai artist. Until mid-Feb it is Nikoletta Le Ruez, Hungarian, with her interpretation of the world of women. Also the Meridien in Dahab is having exhibitions most of the time, in January it was ceramics, not sure until when.

Viva Mall is collecting goods for the people in Gaza. The permissions are arranged. They have a truck and a driver. So if you have any goods, like blankets or clothes etc, bring them to the viva mall. Busy bees club, an after school club helping kids with their education. But they are starting a school here now as well. If you are interested, contact Claire.

Ksenia and Oxana are considering a spiritual centre. For people who are interested in spiritual talks so if you want to participate in spiritual conversations in Russian or English, contact Ksenia or Oxana.

After this 14 Ladies stayed for a lovely dinner in the Sala Thai restaurant, where some found out that Thai food can be really spicy! Thanks also for the generous discount we got of 25% on food and drinks. We all had a very nice evening thanks again to The Hyatt and its Staff.