A reef, bay and beach clean-up event for Koh Racha Yai, and Koh Racha Noi was launched on the morning of August 3rd 2014 at Chalong Marina. Governor Maitri Inthusut opened the event, and was accompanied by PPAO Chief Executive – Paiboon Upattising, Chief Advisor – Boonserm Suwannarathphoom, Transport Division Head – Prasit Yotharak, Chair of Go Eco Phuket – Wisit Ithiwarapornkul, Department of Environmental Quality Promotion Director General – Pawini Punnakan, Chalong Mayor – Samran Jindapol, and PPAO officials.
Organised by Go Eco Phuket, in honour of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, and aimed at promoting responsible and eco-aware tourism, the third Go Eco Phuket was a massive cooperative clean-up participated by over 500 volunteers made up of about 300 divers, and 200 volunteers from schools, eco scouts and eco groups.
Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, “This high-profile cleaning of the reefs and bays of these lovely islands not only helps to return Racha Yai and Racha Noi to their natural pristine states, but also helps promote an ethos of responsible travel and tourism among the many people and businesses that makes their living in the region’s tourist trade, as well as among visitors and locals.”
The Go Eco Phuket clean-up activity was first organised in September 2012 when over 650 divers and beach cleaners took part in removing around 15 tonnes of rubbish, including a massive discarded fishing net that weighed over 4.5 tonnes alone. There was a second clean-up of the reefs and bays a year ago in August 2013 which amassed around 4 tons of rubbish from the sea, most of which derived from fishery and fishing.
The clean-up started at Ko Racha Noi, followed by Ko Racha Yai. Divers removed any rubbish or harmful substances from the islands’ reefs while beachcombers collected from the beaches and shores. The day ended with the sorting and weighing of all rubbish collected, and this was sent for recycling where possible. It is estimated that at least 1,000kg of rubbish and debris were removed.
Go Eco Phuket, a collective of eco-aware scuba divers, diving shops and businesses from Phuket are once again joining forces with groups and individuals from the public and private sectors to organise one of Thailand’s largest coastal and reef clean-ups.
Alongside the cleanup activities, marine and coastal environment displays were set up by the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion and Office of Marine and Coastal Resources Conservation.
According to Wisit, Chair of Go Eco Phuket, this year’s event was supported by government agencies and private sectors as well as volunteers from Phuket communities. He hopes to make this yearly event a veritable “tradition” of the island.
Mr Paiboon thanked Go Eco Phuket for working hard for making the public aware of marine preservation. PPAO, he said, regularly supports similar projects that include the making of artificial reefs and the campaign to reduce rubbish, among others.