Where: Koh Samui, Thailand
Project: Beach cleanups
Koh Samui is an island in the Gulf of Thailand with white sand beaches and luxury resorts. For many tourists, Koh Samui is a stopover destination before heading over to the neighboring island of Koh Pha-ngan, known for their notorious Full Moon parties. Being a hot spot for tourists, that also means there are a lot of single-use plastic and waste consumed each day. The good news is that there are local organizations making a change.
One organization we came across, Trash Hero, has a mission to “bring communities together to clean and reduce waste. [Their] programs are action-based and inclusive, engaging the whole community to clean their environment and reduce their consumption of throwaway plastic – tackling waste in the environment, but also at its source.” The Koh Samui chapter was founded in 2016 and has already made a huge impact with:
- 105 cleanups
- 3,710 volunteers
- 61,811 lbs (28,037 kg) of trash collected
- 1,715,500 plastic bottles saved
Sorting recyclables from general waste
We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to participate in one of Trash Hero’s cleanups. Upon our arrival, we were surprised to see so many volunteers and several bags of trash already collected. A lot of Southeast Asian countries don’t have the best resources for waste disposal, so they result to burning their trash. We saw a lot of half-burnt rubbish piles along the beach which ended up being a lot the trash we picked up. With 40 volunteers from 6 different countries, the group collected 1,600 lbs of trash – we are so thrilled to be a part of this movement!
Trash Hero operates in 10 countries around the world. Head over to their website to see if there’s a chapter near you or your next travel destination!
Want to find more ways to help? Be a trashpacker! Trashpacking is the concept of cleaning up the world while traveling. Check out this really informative article on trashpacking!