Thailand embarks on a journey to clean the Kingdom’s oceans

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Ko Samet, Rayong, 1 September, 2017 – Marking another important milestone in the development of sustainable tourism in the Kingdom of Thailand, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) today officially kicked off the “Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand” project during an opening ceremony held on the Khao Laem Ya Mu Ko Samet Marine National Park, a unique, pristine environment off the coast of Rayong province.

Thailand embarks on a journey to clean the Kingdom’s oceans
In photo (standing): Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor (4th from left); Mr. Teerawat Sudsook, Deputy Governor of Rayong Province (5th from left); General Surasak Karnjanarat, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand (7th from left); Mr. Supattanapong Punmeechaow, President & CEO of PTT Global Chemical (8th from left); Mr. Javier Goyeneche, Founder and CEO of the ECOALF Foundation (9th from left) joined the launch of the “Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand” project on Ko Samet.

Thailand becomes the first Asian country to join the Upcycling the Oceans clean-up effort, held as a part of a global initiative by the Ecoalf Foundation to help clean the oceans of debris by engaging local fishermen.

Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand – in collaboration with TAT and PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) – aims to not only transform the plastic debris found in the ocean into thread to make fabric, but also to preserve the Kingdom’s crystal clear sea and unspoilt coastal areas, especially in popular marine tourist attractions in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said that, “As part of the organisation’s CSR strategy, the project reaffirms the TAT’s commitment to promoting responsible tourism and its leadership role in driving green initiatives, bringing together over one hundred divers and volunteers from TAT and PTTGC to remove trash from the seabed and along the beach on Ko Samet. The project will also help ensure Ko Samet remains pristine, by providing the necessary infrastructure for trash collection, including special trash containers on the island.”

Ongoing collaboration is the key to the project’s success, with TAT working hand in hand with partners and the local administration, communities, fishing villages, volunteers, divers, and tourists. Together, for the mutual benefit of all, these stakeholders are developing knowledge on how to properly collect debris, and process plastic into environmentally-friendly products by working with recycling plants and gaining support from textile manufacturers, designers and clothing brands.

Located 200 kilometres southeast of Bangkok, Ko Samet, the first stop in the Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand project, is one of the most popular destinations among Bangkok residents who flock to the island on weekends. Attracted by its 14 fine, white sandy beaches that boast a number of beachside attractions and restaurants, visitors to Ko Samet can now – thanks to this project – enjoy the island, and appreciate its great natural beauty even more, alongside the exotic wildlife species it is home to, including monkeys, hornbills, gibbons, and butterflies.

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