The news was posted on the Patong Police official Facebook page yesterday (Apr 16), with Patong Police Chief Col Anotai Jindamanee handing the boy, Kosin “Nong Bank” Tha-ngam, a certificate acknowledging his efforts. (See post here.)
Nong Bank, a Year 3 student at Sai Nam Yen School in Patong, was also gifted a buoyancy vest to wear while cleaning the canal and a donation as a scholarship contribution to help pay for his schooling.
Present with Nong Bank while receiving his award was his grandmother and his uncle, Surachat Lemlae.
Nong Bank conducts his cleanups with Theeraphong Penmit, who began cleaning the canal himself after being disgusted by the state of the litter floating on its surface and found strewn all along the its banks.
Mr Theeraphong started his own cleanups in January, and does so every day after work. On Sundays, he is joined by other members of the community.
Although Mr Theeraphong works for the Patong Municipality Division of Sanitary Works, he started his cleanup campaign after being told by his boss of the bureaucratic hurdles that needed to be cleared in order for the council to start regularly cleaning the canal. (See story here.)
“Bank comes to help me to collect trash at Pak Bang Canal every Sunday,” Mr Theeraphong told The Phuket News today (Apr 17).
“He has joined us three times. He comes with his uncle, Surachat Lemlae, who is the president of the local fishing community that lives along the banks of the canal. Bank lives there with his grandparents,” Mr Theerapong explained.
"I found out only yesterday (Apr 16) that Bank has no parents. I don’t know why, but he has been living with his grandmother and his grandfather since he was 10 months old,” Mr Theerapong noted.
“I also just learned that Bank has a hyperactivity disorder. He must go to see the doctors at Patong Hospital and receive his medicine every month,” he added.
"I think Bank is very lovely. He wants to help me collect a lot of trash. I want every child to take Bank as a role model, because Bank spends his free time wisely," Mr Theeraphong said.