The collaboration was part of the tourism restart plan and program which was in dire need before these beautiful small islands could be enjoyed again. They were joined by the Sustainable Mai Khao Foundation, which was a natural fit as this organisation is focused around connecting and empowering the community to preserve our natural environment; more support came from the Royal Phuket Marina who combined their forces in this joint effort.
The Khai Islands have been shut to tourists and locals since July 1 of this year under the COVID-19 rules and restrictions. There has also been a huge amount of sea rubbish brought about as a result of the annual monsoon season which, coupled with the fact that nobody has been allowed onto the islands to clean them up, meant the need for this initiative was crystal clear.
UWCT, Sustainable Mai Khao Foundation, Royal Phuket Marina and 5 Star Marine were working together with the Koh Yao Yai Village Chief, and closely alongside the Phuket Marine Department Director to ensure the greatest results were achieved in this mammoth effort. Transferring volunteers for the clean up on Khai Nok was made possible utilising a fleet of four speedboats which are owned and operated by 5 Star Marine.
“This initiative is a natural extension of the close working relationship that has formed between ourselves and UWCT,” said Shaun Stenning, CEO and Founder of 5 Star Marine.
“We are grateful to all the staff and students who have dedicated their time to help with community efforts on campus, even throughout the restrictions. Furthermore, we greatly appreciate the support of the Government Departments, Sustainable Mai Khao and the Royal Phuket Marine – without whom this clean up would not have been possible.”
For UWCT, these forms of assistance give further ways for students to give back, make a difference to others around them, and integrate these efforts as part of their community and Extra-Curricular Activities (ECA’s).
These combined volunteer efforts were crucial and timely, as the Khai Islands have opened up to Domestic and Sandbox travellers. They have previously proved a popular destination as an easy to reach (only 15-20 minutes from Boat Lagoon pier) and family friendly day trip location. Each of the Khai Islands offers something slightly different including shallow water snorkelling well suited to families with young children, snorkelling right off the boat, a great variety of coral and marine life to explore, plus opportunities to relax on one of the beaches.
With the immense clean-up effort completed, Domestic and Sandbox guests can now enjoy these islands in their former glory; clean and safe thanks to the combined work of UWCT, 5 Star Marine and the Phuket Government Departments.