The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is joining hands with PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) and the Ecoalf Foundation in launching the “Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand” initiative. This makes Thailand the first country in Asia to join the global ocean clean-up effort to help rid of debris from the kingdom’s seas and coastal areas, especially in popular tourist areas on the east coast, in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor said, “Tourism is one of Thailand’s top revenue earners, but Thailand ranks 35th in the world in terms of travel and tourism competitiveness by the World Economic Forum. This, in part, shows the imbalance in tourism development and management, as some Thai tourist attractions are facing detrimental effects from tourism as well as negative environment impacts.
“I am confident that this “Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand” initiative will not only help clean up our lovely seas, islands and coastal areas of plastic debris, but its creative methods will also address our aims at moving Thailand’s tourism industry towards being more sustainable and ensuring our country becomes a regional role model for green tourism,” Mr. Yuthasak added.
Upcycling the Oceans is a global effort initiated by the Ecoalf Foundation to help clean the oceans of debris and transform the plastic debris into thread to make fabric. Ecoalf began to remove trash from the seabed via fishermen off the coast of Levante, Spain in 2012. The project is to show that cleaning the oceans is possible, and that a portion of the collected materials can be recycled into pellets, thread, fabric and products.
Under the collaboration between TAT, PTTGC and the Ecoalf Foundation, the Thailand edition of the project will focus on educating and encouraging stakeholders as well as tourists in volunteering to have a part in helping to clean up Thai oceans and coastal areas. The initial target areas will include the east coast of Thailand (Ko Samet, Rayong); the Gulf of Thailand (Ko Tao, Surat Thani), and the Andaman Sea (Phuket). The initiative will also involve the categorisation of waste for proper management and recycling processing. For the latter, PTTGC will play a leading role in campaigning for the transformation of plastic debris into polyester fibre and fabric to make fashionable clothing.
PTTGC has become one of the three founding partners of the “Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand” initiative, as it corresponds with the company’s sustainable business strategy. It is also in line with the “PTTGC’s Fish Aggregating Device to Create Aquatic Animal’s Habitats along Rayong Coastal” project, which was launched in August 2016. The company uses its durability and environmentally-friendly plastic products in manufacturing large fibre rope and producing buoys to make fish aggregating devices.