On hand to welcome the delegation were Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana along with Pralong Damrongthai, the Director-General of Pollution Control Department.
Leading the meeting was AWGCME Chair Crisanta Rodriquez, Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines.
In front of the region’s most important figures in combating pollution in the oceans, Governor Phakaphong said, “Preserving and caring for the environment along with promoting tourism is to maintain the beauty of natural resources to be sustainable.”
Governor Phakaphong also explained to the international consortium, “Phuket has launched a 3R project (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) in order to separate waste. This helps to reduce waste from various areas in Phuket.
“Moreover, Phuket has launched a coral reef conservation and marine life project to raise people’s awareness of preserving of coral reefs and marine life,” he added.
“The project is following the initiative of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn,’’ he said.
Governor Phakaphong was also proud to point out that “Phuket” had received two awards under the ASEAN Sustainable Award (ASTA) project.
“The ASEAN Sustainable Award (ASTA) is the recognition of ASEAN best sustainable rural or urban tourism products proposed and implemented by public and private stakeholders who have decided to join forces for the benefit of their destination,” explains the Asean Tourism website. (See here.)
At the ASEAN Sustainable Tourism Awards presented at the Asean Tourism Forum held in Chiang Mai last year (ATF 2018), the “Phuket Natural Experience” was one of the eight winners in the Urban Sustainable Products category. (See here.)
Previously, in 2017, “The City of Phuket” was awarded the Asean Environmentally Sustainable Cities (ESC) 3rd Certificate of Recognition Awards in the small city category for its clean water. (See here.)
“The rewards show that Phuket has beautiful resources and nature which is worthy to be a final destination for Thai tourists and foreign tourists,’’ Governor Phakaphong said.
Pollution Control Department Director-General Pralong Damrongthai added, “According to studies on marine waste problems in Thailand, 80% of marine waste comes from land. The garbage from marine activities is only 20%. So, waste management from the source is important.
“In the past three years, the government has given priority to his issue by focusing on managing 30 million tons of residual waste and 27 million tons of new waste per year,” he said.
“We have to reduce waste at the source and recycle more waste,” Mr Pralong added.
The meeting yesterday will help to achieve results in reducing the problem of marine waste at the regional and global levels, said a report by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department of Thailand.
“This includes the preparation of action plans and contact (persons and agencies) of each country that can participate in the management of marine waste problems,” said the report.
Not mentioned yesterday was that just a few kilometres further down the Patong Beach last week the beach water in Patong experienced a “seaweed’ bloom, while untreated wastewater continues to flow into Patong Bay at the southern end of the beach. (See here, here, here and here.)
Also not mentioned was that Phuket’s sole solid waste disposal facility was running out of room at its landfills while waiting for years for the funds to expand the facility’s incinerator capacity. (See here.)