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: arte.tv

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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: trashhero.org

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

Climate refugees

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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?

 

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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.

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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.

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