Thailand Joins European Project to Clean Plastic from Oceans

Thailand has joined a European project designed to clean plastic from oceans around the globe — and it’s the first Asian country to join.

Local fishermen will work together to remove plastic from the seas they fish in. This problem is particularly large in Asia, where it’s thought 60% of all the trash in the ocean originates from.

The global project, based in Spain, is called Upcycling the Oceans and is led by an NGO called Ecoalf. The concept is to teach fishermen about removing plastic from the ocean while they’re working. The plastic they collect will be recycled and made into products for sale that can make money for continued funding of the initiative

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “Tourism is one of Thailand’s top revenue earners, but Thailand ranks 35th in the world in terms of travel and tourism competitiveness by the World Economic Forum. This, in part, shows the imbalance in tourism development and management, as some Thai tourist attractions are facing detrimental effects from tourism as well as negative environment impacts. “I am confident that this “Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand” initiative will not only help clean up our lovely seas, islands and coastal areas of plastic debris, but its creative methods will also address our aims at moving Thailand’s tourism industry towards being more sustainable and ensuring our country becomes a regional role model for green tourism,” Mr. Yuthasak added.

The project has been operating in Europe on a small-scale since 2012 and has done fashion collaborations with Harrods, Barneys NY and Apple. They estimate that since launching, they have recycled 70 million plastic bottles.

The first year of the Thailand project will be spent collecting plastic debris, and the second will be used making that plastic into reusable items using small-scale artisans. The project is expected to go on for three-years and then be re-assessed. The project organizers are keen to promote sustainable tourism as well as anti-littering ideals.

Thailand already has some measures in place to protect the ecological balance of its more popular destinations. National parks such as the Similan Islands close throughout the rainy season to ensure they aren’t too badly damaged from the constant throng of tourists visiting, ensuring that the reefs and marine life have a chance to recover.


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