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