SAMET ISLAND, Rayong, 5 September 2017: The Tourism Authority of Thailand officially kicked off the ‘Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand’ project on Monday.
The project was launched at a ceremony held in the Khao Laem Ya Mu Ko Samet Marine National Park off the coast of Rayong province.
Thailand has the distinction of being the first Asian country to join the Upcycling the Oceans clean-up campaign, held as a part of a global initiative by the Ecoalf Foundation to help clean the oceans of debris by engaging the help of local fishermen.
Upcycling the Ocean, Thailand even involves PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) a major corporation in fuel, gas and chemical heavy industries with massive plants on Thailand’s eastern seaboard.
However, the project focusses on harvesting the plastic debris found in the ocean and turning it into thread to make fabrics. The Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea where much of Thailand’s tourism revenue is earned is plagued by an annual tide of plastic waste that washes up on beaches during southwest monsoon.
TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said: “The project reaffirms TAT’s commitment to promoting responsible tourism and its leadership role in driving green initiatives, bringing together over 100 divers and volunteers from TAT and PTTGC to remove trash from the seabed and along the beach on Samet.
TAT will work with partners and local communities to introduce the garbage collection and implement the process to turn plastic into environmentally-friendly products such as thread for fabrics.
Located 200 km southeast of Bangkok, Samet island is the first site for the Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand project.
A popular destination for Bangkok residents the narrow island has seven beaches and a bustling accommodation business even though it is a national park. In recent years illegal resorts were dismantled as officials began a restoration of the island’s environment.