Empty plastic and glass bottles, plastic bags, foam boxes and other environmentally destructive waste litter the main beach of the island on Koh Libong in Kantang District, reported the Bangkok Post. (See story here.)
Not only is it an eyesore, it emits a foul smell, said the report.
Nonthawat Sukmongkhol, a fourth-year environmental student at Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya, Trang campus, and his friends visited Koh Kradan and complained to local media about the volume of garbage despoiling the island, it added.
Mr Nonthawat said trash strewn along the beach badly eroded Koh Kradan’s reputation and its attraction for tourists, and could affect the popularity of its world-acclaimed annual underwater wedding ceremony.
Tour operators, and tourists themselves, should help keep the island free of garbage. A clean-up was urgently needed, and all should participate, Mr Nonthawat said.
Narong Khong-ied, head of Hat Chao Mai National Park, said anti-littering campaigns and the park’s own garbage disposal measures would address the problem.
Tour operators who bring visitors to the island would be asked to take away their garbage, instead of leaving it on the shore.
Legal action would be taken against offenders, Mr Narong said.
The deluge of garbage washing up on the beaches of the tourist-popular island follows the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) last week proudly announcing that Thailand was the first Asian country to join the “Upcycling the Oceans” clean-up effort as the country “embarks on a journey to clean the Kingdom’s oceans”.
Led by TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn, the “Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand” opening ceremony was held on the Khao Laem Ya Mu Ko Samet Marine National Park – dubbed a “unique, pristine environment off the coast of Rayong province” – last Friday (Sept 1).
The Upcycling the Oceans clean-up effort was held as a part of a global initiative by the Ecoalf Foundation to help clean the oceans of debris by engaging local fishermen, said the TAT. (See story here.)
“Upcycling the Ocean, Thailand – in collaboration with TAT and PTT Global Chemical Co Ltd (PTTGC) – aims to not only transform the plastic debris found in the ocean into thread to make fabric, but also to preserve the Kingdom’s crystal clear sea and unspoilt coastal areas, especially in popular marine tourist attractions in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea,” the agency said.
TAT Governor Yuthasak noted, “As part of the organisation’s CSR strategy, the project reaffirms the TAT’s commitment to promoting responsible tourism and its leadership role in driving green initiatives, bringing together over one hundred divers and volunteers from TAT and PTTGC to remove trash from the seabed and along the beach on Ko Samet.
“The project will also help ensure Ko Samet remains pristine, by providing the necessary infrastructure for trash collection, including special trash containers on the island,” he said.
Not mentioned at the launch of eco-campaign was that PTT was at the heart of a massive oil spill that devastated the shores and the marine and coastal wildlife of Koh Samet in July 2013.
PTTGC took full responsibility for the environmental disaster (see Ministry of Foreign of Affairs report here) and company CEO at the time Anon Sirisaengtaksin made a formal apology and admitted the company “underestimated” the extent of the oil spill which “sneaked out” of the contained area (see story here.).
See PTTGC’s own report of the incident here.