The trappings of luxury and comfort at Delhi’s five-star hotels don’t cost you money alone.
In its endeavour to create the right mood and ambience, with lighting, air conditioning, pools and fountains, the hospitality industry is guzzling resources such as water and energy and polluting the environment like never before.
Alarmed by the trend, Delhi government’s environment department has called owners of the 35-odd five-star hotels in the Capital on February 26 fora meeting.
This is done to ensure time-bound execution of green hotel guidelines that the government has put in place to reduce green house emissions and save energy and water.
The electricity consumed by one hotel per month is roughly the monthly requirement of 600 households. Similarly, daily water consumption at a hotel is sufficient for 1,000 households per day.
The environment department earlier used to monitor waste generated only in kitchens and laundries. But now the entire waste generated will be monitored. For this, a biological waste water treatment system will replace the existing physiochemical system.
“There’s a lot one can do —install low-flow shower heads, use light-emitting diode lighting or switch to drought-resistant plants in gardens,” said a senior official.
“All hotels will have to use bio gas, cooling towers and solar energy to save electricity. They must set up dedicated water treatment plants and, that too, of the required capacity,” he said.
“The practice of letting waste go down the drain at night, because the plants are not big enough, has to stop.
"Treated water has to be reused for purposes such as cleaning, watering and fire-fighting to ensure there’s zero discharge. Rainwater harvesting is a must,” the official said.
The department is sending questionnaires to these hotels. They need to furnish details such as the number of rooms, average occupancy, status of nearby parks, besides the number of restaurants with seating capacity.
“Guidelines have been put in place. We have international benchmarks. But in many cases they are not being adhered to. Consumption of energy and water is much higher than allowed at some of these hotels.
"We also need to educate them. Smaller hotels will be spoken to in the second phase of this drive,” the official said.
“A 5-star hotel which has 500 rooms consumes 700-800 kelolitre water every day. Even a small hotel consumes 3 lakh units of power per month. Our main focus is on water. The general public don’t get water, while it’s being wasted in the name of luxury,” he said.
“As much as 85% of the total water is used by 15 per cent people of the society,” he said.