São Tomé y Príncipe

The tiny islands of São Tomé and Príncipe promote small-scale, high-end tourism, preserving the island’s ecosystems so they can be enjoyed for years to come.

The Zero Plastic on Príncipe initiative involves a trade-in program where locals collect discarded plastic bottles that litter the coastlines and exchange them for stainless steel drinking bottles that can be used to unlock and collect clean water from freshwater fountains across the islands. Water points include schools, markets, the airport, and other public spaces – such that children, for example, can take their bottles to school and refill them there. During 17 plastic trade-in events, more than 456,000 plastic bottles were collected and the island’s residents were given access to unlimited free clean drinking water.

Since UNESCO has declared the island a biosphere reserve, the local government and population are trying to find the right balance between economic development and conservation – seeking solutions that adhere to the prosperity of both.