Sustainable Water Hygiene – The Photo Journey Solution

Posted December 15, 2019

One of the main causes of sickness in Nepal is unsafe drinking water. But don’t worry, here is a guide to best practice in staying healthy – something we’ll cover in further detail when we’re together in Nepal.

One way to reduce chances of infection is to only drink bottled water. This is reasonably effective although to what standards has the bottled water been treated? And has the bottle been tampered with? Ultimately the bottled water industry is about making money. No one is selling you water out of the goodness of their hearts and there are a number of cunning ways the less scrupulous sellers tamper with the bottles. If you must drink bottled water, always check the seals and the integrity of the base of the bottle.

The use of single use plastic bottles is environmentally problematic at the best of times. Even where recycling is an option, that in itself is a carbon intensive process. In Nepal there is no recycling option. Your plastic at best ends up in landfill and at worst, is chucked into a river or down a ravine. The more remote you go, the harder it becomes to process your waste; so when we are trekking, it’s even more important to avoid using bottled water.

Even if you put it in a bin, this is where it ends up …

…and even high up in otherwise pristine environments the presence of waste plastic is felt

So what are the alternatives?

And do they compromise on safety?

We’ve been doing this for a long time now and are glad to put forward a solution that is both environmentally sound and represents zero compromise on safety. We use a combination of Nalgene water bottles and an MSR Guardian filter.

Each Photo Journey guest receives a Nalgene

Why Nalgene?

To explain ‘Why Nalgene?” we need to explain why NOT bladder/hose combos. Bladder and hoses are a hygiene nightmare. They are hard to clean and hard to rinse. They are also prone to split. Enough said.

Nalgene on the other hand is bombproof and easy to clean. It accepts boiling water which is great not only for deep cleaning purposes but also makes it great as a Thermos or hot water bottle. There are a number of individual filtration options compatible with Nalgene but we prefer to make safe drinking water a group concern.

The MSR Guardian is the gold standard in filters, delivering safe drinking water at high flow rate. The combination of Nalgene bottles and MSR Guardian means we can take water from practically any source and cater for the needs of the whole group. Up High and in the Village this means taking water from communal taps and making it even cleaner by filtering it through the Guardian and into your bottles. And it means that rather than rendering water safe by having it boiled over wood fires, the trees that fuel these fires can remain in tact, binding together the soil, converting carbon dioxide to oxygen and supporting vast biodiversity. We thus conserve the very forests we’ll walk through and marvel at.

Filtering water negates the need for boiling it on wood fuelled fires  …

… and helps keep the forest as it should be: a planetary lung, home to immense biodiversity and a wonder for us to walk through

So, to summarise: no plastic waste, no cost to you and no drinking water related sickness, plus the preservation of forests otherwise cut for fuel. We’ll even give you a Nalgene bottle as part of your welcome pack – something to use while you’re with us and then take with you into life beyond Photo Journey, allowing you to continue being independent of single use plastic water bottles. Hoorah!




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