Tourism development is not only about the most visible services and products. In the Nemunas Delta in Lithuania, the local actors realized that the treatment of waste water was insufficient and seriously threatened the flora and fauna in the area. The Delta is a popular recreational area, and there are potentials to develop the boating and angling. Minge is a picturesque fishing village, but tourism development was not an issue. In 2001 there was no waste water treatment at all.
The villagers and authorities contacted the Global Environmental fund’s Small Grant Programme under UNDP. Funds were provided for the construction of septic tanks and sand-reed filters – a simple technology, but efficient in the particular environment. It is now possible to treat waste water from boats and holiday facilities in Minge. Only when the waste water was in place could the villagers construct piers for small boats and yachts. Three farms opened themselves up to tourists, and a few bed-and-breakfasts sprung up. The local boating club installed washing machines, bathrooms and other facilities that needed to be connected to a sewage system.
Villagers contributed their own time and labour to the project, laying pipes and installing the septic tanks and sand-reed filters themselves. They saved money by using local clay and wood and less expensive plastic filters.
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