Trash Heroes

Thailand’s white-sand beaches have to deal with an increasing number of trash that is set ashore every day. The impact of a failed waste management system also starts to become visible to tourists.

Have a look at the full report here:


Thailand: Tourists come to see the white-sand beaches and clear waters

According to a study recently published by Science Magazine, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam produce more than half of plastic waste, that ends up in the ocean. It is assumed that Thailand is responsible for 1,03 million tons of trash. An estimated 9 million tons of waste ended up in the ocean again in 2015.


Trash Heroes collect trash in a paradise-like setting

The organisation „Trash Heroes“ aims to collect the trash from the beaches and recycle as much as possible.

Every Monday boats with tourists and locals start off from Koh Lipe in the south of Thailand to collect trash from surrounding islands of the Marine National Park.

The idea developed and finally Trash Heroes became a registered organisation with its headquarters in Switzerland. Since the first beach clean-up in December 2013 more than 5,000 volunteers in Thailand and Indonesia have collected more than 100 tons of trash.


The alarming catch of 200 meter long beach area: 60 bags of waste (300 kg), 200 kg rope and a yellow Box

Besides Trash Hero wants to raise awareness through education. They hold presentations in schools to sensitize future generations for environment issues. In school outings students participate in beach clean-ups. Not only the environment is being polluted, thousands of animals die every year due to digestion of waste or entanglement in rope and nets. Finally tiny plastic particles end up on our plate through the food chain.



Cameraman Francisco braves the stench: Collected trash ends up at the recycling center of Koh Lipe.

That’s why it is vital to avoid producing waste in the first hand. Trash Hero has introduced steeled bottles, that can be refilled at many restaurants and hotels on the island. Many local businesses support this system, even though they make less profit.


The Trash Heroes visit schools to educate young Thais about the impact of waste in the environment.

The idea spreads: There are twelve other chapters in other tourist destinations such as Krabi, Hua Hin, Koh Lanta and even Indonesia.

Donations also make a difference: 1 Euro helps collecting 1 kilo of trash.

For more information and donations:


That’s how idyllic a trash-free beach can be: Sunset at Koh Lipe

Job swap in India

Locomotive driver Daniel Walti and Mike Birchler from Samedan, Grisons in Switzerland travel to India and swap their jobs with Dilip Sinchury and Ashok Bhattacharjee. Modern train engineering from the Alps versus historic steam locomotive in hilly landscape of Darjeeling.


Swiss locomotive driver Daniel Walti and Mike Birchler with their Indian boss Dharmaraj Rana

For the Swiss Daniel Walti, 25, and Mike Birchler, 27, a childhood dream comes true: They get to work at the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in India for a week. Their boss Dharmaraj Rana, 54, though is strict though. Before they are allowed to drive the historic locomotive they have to start from the ground. They almost reach their physical limits, when they shovel coal to do the heating -up.


Shooting in the night with the historic locomotive

At the same time Dilip Sinchury, 52, und Ashok Bhattacharjee, 57, from Darjeeling travel to Samedan in Switzerland , where they get introduced into modern train enginieering by their boss Chef Carlo Custer, 34.

Watch the complete show here.


Cameramann Francisco is taking a break with a goat at the train station.

Climate refugees


Cameraman Francisco films children enjoing the mud. It looks like a lot of fun, but also bears serious health risks.

The UN estimates that there will be about 350 million climate refugees in the world. People are loosing their livelihood due to climate change and other environmental influences.

NGOs estimate the number of climate refugees is currently at 25 million. Much more people flee nature disasters, desertification and karst formation than political conflicts.

Western nations share the responsibility in these developments. Climate change causes drought, raise of the sea level and storm floods. Fertile land is abused, water is stolen from farmers and fishing grounds are exploited. “Planet e“ went to Senegal and Bangladesh to explore the reasons: Why do people have to leave their home? Where do they go? Which perspectives do they have?



Many Bangladeshis, who flee the floods often end up in the slums of Dhaka

Koko Warner of UN-University Bonn tries to find out about the roots of the problems. She travels to Bangladesh on a regular basis and meets families, who had to move to the slums of the capital Dhaka. Changing environment is not an accepted reason for asylum, which makes the situation for those people especially difficult.

Inundations is not only a problem in Asia, also Africa’s West-coast has to deal with vanishing villages and fields of land. Officially Senegal is a safe country of origin, but in reality people have to deal with loads of problems, that are not home-made.


Wenn der Drehort im Überschwemmungsgebiet Bangladeschs liegt, dann muss auch unser Kamerateam durch die Fluten waten.

The government has sold the fishing privileges to European and Japanese companies. They use huge trawlers for fishing which emptied the coastal waters in Senegal. Most of the fishing villages disappear. Big estates are leased to international enterprises, which produce oil for Western markets. They drain water from the surrounding areas, which is the main reason why the farmers don’t have sufficient water for their fields. 2014 around 1.000 Senegalese migrated to Germany, this year there will be much more.

The report is a Kelvinfilm production.


In stagnant waters there might be parasitea, mosquitos, excrements and snakes . Mediawok-Reporter Christina Grawe smiles anyways.

Beauty knows no pain

After almost four years, our reporter Kathrin dares to visit Khun Khemika again in order to not only get her breasts tapped, but also her butt. Following, Kathrin will go to have her face “threaded” in the middle of the street in Chinatown in Bangkok. One thing is for sure: beauty knows no pain.


Reporter Kathrin Robow with Mrs. Khemika Na Songkhla














Mrs. Khemika, who loves flamboyant outfits, does her job since more than 30 years already.


In Bangkoks Chinatown you can find special beauty treatments in the middle of the street.


Drone shots for Pop Idol in Thailand

Drone shots from German Pop Idol production in Thailand. Take a lift and enjoy bird’s eye view of exclusive locations.

The Bachelorette dreamdates in Thailand

Next Wednesday, 19. August bachelorette Alisa will take her three admirers to Thailand. We are keen to see if finally one of the finalists dares to kiss the beauty.

Action, romantic dates and butterflies in the tummy in an exotic and luxury setting are on schedule.


Bangkoks snake hunter

Bildschirmfoto 2015-05-07 um 16.03.17

Pythons often hide in Bangkok homes.

Insects, rats, crawlers – there are a lot of varieties of pest which like human company. In Thailand you have a chance to encounter some scary creatures. Snake hunter Sompop often receives calls from Bangkokians who have to deal with 3-meter-long pythons. In Germany on the other hand Johann Reitmeier and Tobias Käufl have to deal with rather small pests, like mites or rats. We follow the pest hunters in each country for one day.



Pop Idol Germany shot the recall in Thailand

The German version of “Pop Idol” called “Deutschland sucht den Superstar” (DSDS) shot the recall in Thailand. The 34 candidates started their trip in Bangkok, where they had to show their talent to a Thai party crowd on famous “Vertigo” Rooftopbar. Afterwards they explored the traditional side of Bangkok as well, including streetstalls, canals and Tuk Tuks. Within six recall episodes the show travels to adventurous, luxurious and even spiritual locations as for example temple ruins, paradise beaches and pool terraces with extraordinary views.


The jury on Vertigo rooftopbar



The dirty business of ship wrecking in Bangladesh

Chittagong in Bangladesch is one of the biggest scrapyards. Ships from all over the world are broken down into pieces, amongst them are ships that were once built in Germany. Hundreds of people are working and welding barefoot without any protective clothing inside the gigantic ocean liners. It is called “beaching”, when the huge ships go ashore fullspeed.

The people work barefoot and without protective clothing.

The people work barefoot and without protective clothing.

Accidents and even deaths occur often, but there is no official record. The scraping companies try to hide these accidents. There is no effective labour law or protection in Bangladesh and no environmental specifications. Contaminated slush seeps into groundwater.

Jeder Tag beim "Shipbreaking" bedeutet ein Risiko für die Arbeiter, denn jedes Jahr verunglücken Dutzende.

Everyday these workers have to take a risk, many die at the scrapyard.

Endstation Bangladesch: Trümmer und Wrackteile wohin das Auge reicht.

Final station Bangladesh: debris and wreckage as far as the eye can reach.

You can watch the full report at ZDF media center here.

This film was initiated by Kelvinfilm.

Indonesian family reunited after 10 years of seperation due to Tsunami in 2004

2004, Aceh Province, Indonesia: A violent tsunami left huge areas in the Indian Ocean devastated and killed hundred of thousands of people.The destiny of thousands of people, who never returned home is unforgotten. As we know, hope is the last thing to die and wonders do happen. Jamaliah and her husband Septi Rangkuti prayed every single day to see their children, 17-years-old Arif Pratama and 14-years-old Raudhatul, again. See how the miracle happened in our report at “Punkt 12”.


The family reunited at dinner

Mother chained her child

A Cambodian mother has chained her child for hours, while she went out for work. The four-year-old girl was freed after worried neighbors have called the police. The mother said, she was worried her daughter would walk out of the house. The girl was brought to a children’s home, while the mother only got a warning but was not arrested.

Die vierjährige Pee Chantha (rechts) mit einer Freundin im Kinderheim

Four-year-old Pee Chantha (right) with a new friend at the children’s home


Im Kinderheim

At the children’s home

Love between Germany and Thailand

They are bonded by love, but Bernhard und and his girlfriend Pui live seperately since two years already. They have been living in Sukothai together, where Bernhard had a business with speakers. A severe storm has destroyed everything and on top he fell ill and had to return to Germany. On that very day their son Brian was born. Only once Bernhard held his son in his arms, then never again until today. Pui and Bernhard talk on Skype twice a day since two years. It is Puis biggest wish to move to Germany to be reunited with her love Bernhard.


Das Mediawok-Kamerateam bei Puy zu Hause in Sukhothai

Mediawok-Camerateam at Puys house in Sukhothai

Puy mit dem gemeinsamen Sohn Brian und ihrer Tochter Palm

Pui with Brian and her daughter Palm

Jeden Tag skypt Puy zwei Mal mit ihrem Liebsten Bernhard in Deutschland

Twice a day Pui skypes with Bernhard in Germany


Torso girl

When Nong Neoy was born four years ago, the parents were more than worried. Their babygirl was born without arms and legs; with one crippled arm, to be precise. What seems like a tragedy, developed into a positive story though. Now Nong Neoy is famous throughout Thailand as “the torso girl”.


Die kleine Noey wurde nur mit einem Armstumpf geboren.

Nong Noey was born with one crippled arm.

Despite her destiny Nong Noey is a happy and strong girl with a good common sense. Of course the family has to face a lot of problems and obstacles, but they always keep moving – with a smile in their face. Nong Noey is a frequent guest in Thai TV, which bestowed her over 35.000 followers on Facebook.


Nong Noey spielt mit ihrere Mutter Nahm mit Barbiepuppen.

Nong Noey and her mother Nahm are playing with Barbies.

Hunting for treasures in the Chao Praya river

Divers are searching the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok for antiquarian treasures using self-made diving equipment.
Watch the teaser:
Chao Phraya river winds it way trough the historic quarters of Bangkok with its golden temples and palaces. The waterway is the hunting ground of a group of divers, that brave the current using a self-made diving bell.

Somchai taucht vor stimmungsvoller Kulisse nach Schätzen in Bangkoks Chao Praya Fluss

Just opposite of shiny office buildings and luxury hotels, the divers live a very simple life in a rural oasis. They are located on the peninsula of Pra Pradaeng, the place where the river draws a huge loop. Hundreds of years ago kings, European tradings companies and Asian migrants settled down at the  banks, so the river provides a lot of treasures until today.

By the end of the monsoon, in october the divers start to work again and look for valuable items on the river ground. On of them is Somchai Panthong, he is 50 years old and makes a living of diving and searching for treasures. Sometimes he only finds old metal, which he can sell for a few baht, but sometimes, when he is lucky he finds real antiques, which sell for a high price.

The job can be dangerous, as the currents in the river are sometimes unpredictable and big ships might easily lose sight of the tiny longtail boat, that they use. The diving bell is connected only by a thin plastic tube, which can easily break or get lost.

Somchai needs to be lucky again for the new season to start, since the money he put aside is almost gone. What will the brave divers find?


Working in a disaster zone

They have no bed, no electricity and they are far away from home – see, how professional helpers from Germany live in a disaster zone and which risks they have to take to save lives.

Christina Grawe, PR-Sprecherin der Caritas, läuft durch das verwüstete Tacloban

Christina Grawe, PR-spokeswoman of Caritas, in devastated Tacloban

Das RTL-Kamerateam begleitete Christina Grawe (Mitte) einen Tag lang bei ihrer Arbeit

The camerateam (RTL-Reporter Dagmar Vetter, left und cameraman Florian Böhm, right) accompanied Christina Grawe (middle) for one day.

Die Häuser der Bewohner von Tacloban liegen in Schutt und Asche

Taifun Hayan left nothing than dust and debris.

Trotz der Katastrophe, die diese Kinder erleben, können sie beim Anblick der Kamera noch lachen

Despite of the big disaster these kids were laughing and posing, when they saw our camera.

The old girl from Chiang Mai

Chanagaln ‘Jenny’ Lung-Or is five years old and lives with her family in Chiang Mai. Like everyother girl, she like to play with her friends and goes to school every day. But Jenny looks terrifyingly different than her classmates. She suffers from Progeria Syndrome, a disease, that lets your skin age very quickly. Even though she is a little child, she looks like an old woman – not only the face is affected, but also her arms and legs.

Join us tonight, to see how she fights for a normal life and what doctors say about the disease.