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Thai isle Koh Samui goes green

Popular Thai holiday spot Koh Samui has adopted a series of green initiatives designed to reduce plastic waste and rubbish on the tropical island. Alongside replacing plastic straws with plant-based products, the island is proactively recycling, organising beach cleans and promoting the use of fabric instead of plastic bags.

Thai isle Koh Samui goes green

Thailand’s tourist board (TAT) has announced it is driving green initiatives on the popular tropical island of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand to eliminate single-use plastics, reduce waste and encourage recycling to help protect the island’s ecosystem.

Working together with local stakeholders and tourists, the local authority is encouraging the separation of waste for recycling to reduce the amount of rubbish the island produces and protect the local environment. It is also promoting the use of reusable shopping bags.

TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said:

“Education and awareness are the keys to success for this initiative. TAT proactively encourages both tourists and tourism businesses to help reduce tourism waste on the paradise island of Samui.

“Changing behaviour doesn’t happen overnight. We are seeing an increase in reusable cloth bags when shopping, and both visitors and residents are pitching in to do their part and help keep the island clean.”

The island has become increasingly popular with tourists, but with this comes a need to find a balance between competitive tourism and environmental impact.

Local stores and shops on the island are campaigning against single-use plastics. Hotels and resorts as well, as tourism-related businesses on Koh Samui are also helping to lead the way on responsible waste management by following the three "R" principal: reduction, reuse and recycle.

Koh Samui’s luxury resorts were among the first to stop using plastic straws and adopt plant-based straws instead to make their tourism operations more sustainable.

One organisation directly involved in protecting the island’s natural environment is Trash Hero Koh Samui, which brings volunteers together every Saturday morning to clean Samui’s beaches.

In August this year, the Thai tourist board introduced a country-wide strategy – Travel Thailand in Style, Reduce Plastic Waste – to cut tourism-related waste by up to 50 percent by 2020.

Targeting both tourists and businesses to address waste problems in key travel destinations, the tourist board also encourages consumption of reusable or sustainable items such as plant-based drinking straws instead of plastic straws, cotton bags instead of plastic bags, water tumblers instead of plastic bottles, and reusable food utensils instead of single-use plastic or foam items.

Back in March 2017, TAT partnered with PTT Global Chemical and the Ecoalf Foundation to launch an "Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand" initiative. It made Thailand the first country in Asia to join the global ocean clean-up effort to reduce debris along Thailand’s coastal regions, especially in popular tourist areas on the east coast, in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.

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