More than 1,500 volunteer divers and non-divers gathered at Chalong Pier and in total 4,356 kg of debris was collected. The 2013 Clean-Up differed to the 2012 Dive Against Debris event in that it was more all-encompassing with Go-Eco Phuket making sure that all dive companies were invited to participate across all teaching organisations and there were more younger Thais involved with volunteers from Phuket Rajabhat University, Phuket Technical College and other educational establishments on the island.
The debris collected was recorded and found to be mostly consisting of so-called ghost nets as well as tiles, cans, bottles and so on. This data has been submitted to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources for their own records and also to Project Aware and to Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup whose motto is ‘Start a Sea Change’.
Phuket Governor Maitree Intusut said after the event that he appreciated the dive community coming together and would like to see Go-Eco Phuket organise a Clean-Up event on this scale every year to continue to raise awareness worldwide. He also promised a government budget allocation to future Go-Eco Phuket events.
Go-Eco Phuket organiser Kerry Leach said, “I was happy with the event. It was slightly different to 2012’s event with less foreign volunteers but this year involved a lot more local Thais at a young age, which is where we need to raise awareness of Phuket’s marine debris problems so that Phuket can enjoy a cleaner debris-free future.
“There were some issues with registration, but a new system has already been discussed to prevent this happening with future events. Every year we learn.” Kerry also expressed Go-Eco Phuket’s appreciation and gratitude to sponsors saying that without their support the 2013 event could not have been as successful as it was.
“We hope to maintain good relations with these sponsors for future projects and events all of which help to raise awareness and keep Phuket clean,” Kerry added.
Finally with the success of their annual clean-ups, Go Eco Phuket confirmed at last night’s (August 14) de-brief meeting that they will make the effort for one project during the high season when they can access different reefs and beaches to clean and record data.
Sponsors are encouraged to get involved now for events in 2014. Don’t miss out. The next big clean-up event is expected to take place in January 2014.
Special thanks to Da Vinci Yachts, Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa, PADI, SSI, Best Western Allamanda Laguna, Asia Dive Travel, All About Scuba Diving, British Business Association of Phuket, Rotary Club Of Patong Beach and the International Business Association of Phuket.