Take away that thin, fragile veil of desirability and the tropical landscape becomes a marine desert. Ten minutes could very well be the difference between life and death. A happy coral polyp gets washed with a layer of sediment from the construction site above. The silt smothers the coral and decades of coral growth is desecrated in an instant - dead in 10 minutes.
‘Paved paradise to put up a parking lot’ were words by Carly Simon and a beacon for a generation to heed, but mankind were both blind and deaf to mother nature’s travails as the fast-paced ‘advancement’-obsessed ‘80s set to begin its 15 years of destruction.
However, it is not all bad news. ‘Green shoots’ come in many shapes and forms, such as consistent small beach cleaning groups like ‘Kamala Green’ that are supported by local hotels. Green shoots also sprout in school programs where art and vision come together such as the recent Kajonkiet ‘save the earth’ exhibition. It’s often the kids who speak up on the litter.
Roadside litter is now being cleared by the Or Bor Tor every two weeks, with grass cutting and litter bagging and a concerted new island-wide anti-litter campaign currently being prepared. Combined with the effects of regular beach cleaning, beach litter volumes have dropped by as much as one third in the last two years.
Island-wide curbside recycling, new beach bins and community recycling stations are welcomed plans. The recent Asia Pacific Environmental Network [APEN] workshop with Phuket schools and supported by Phuket’s local government has encouraged broader teaching.
With support of big retailers the first phase of the plastic reduction program is being promoted and companies such as Tesco and 7-Eleven are mobilising change with staff education programmes.
Habit changing and positive respect for waste disposal is being felt throughout the island and many people understand now the plastic issue both for dengue fever risks and also for the impact on our oceans and marine life.
Most of our Phuket guests come from countries with strong local communities and have a loving respect for our island and our planet, Phuket is our pearl of the Andaman and deserves to be well protected with all our support. Look for green shoots to support and make the changes at home, at work and at play.