We don’t need international media telling us that Thailand is drowning in the plastic trash to know that it is so – it’s enough to sneak a peek into a nearby roadside ditch or take a walk down a beach in monsoon season. Plastic. Is. Everywhere.
How to tackle this problem? The number one solution we seem to come up with in Phuket, are beach cleanups. But while they may leave our consciences cleaner, they do little for the long-term island cleanliness. What to do then? As with many problems – prevent! Here are some easy steps to take to make Phuket cleaner. You can start today.
Yes, I know, it’s not a groundbreaking discovery, but it’s still worth reminding yourself to say NO to that plastic bag they push on you at the local convenience store (and two or more if you buy anything in a glass container). Unfortunately, local shop assistants rarely ask if you need one, so it’s up to you to refuse it. And if you forget to refuse it, try to reuse it, because it’s not plastic that is the main problem, it’s the single-use plastic.
Some say it’s difficult to drink a beverage without a straw if there are ice cubes present in the glass (may we only face such problems in life!), but Thais drinking their beer with ice, prove them wrong on a daily basis. So next time you order a drink, tell the barman not to stuff that straw in the glass. Whatever discomfort it may cause you – if any – it is nothing compared to the anguish of the sea creature that plastic straw trash affects.
A great way not to accept plastic bags or straws is to carry your own. It’s no effort if you make it a habit, not to mention that they look way better than their single-use counterparts.
Instead of wasting your precious time on daily trips to the supermarket, shop big. Make lists, keep track of the products you need, manage your home supplies and when it comes to restocking, do it properly, once and for all. You’ll not only save time and fuel but possibly money and definitely plastic.
In this climate man’s go to drink. But instead of quenching your thirst with a never-ending stream of those pathetic, tiny plastic water bottles, go for the big, reusable ones. Paired with a nice, reusable water cup, they are simply the most environment-friendly and economical solution out there.
The reasons for quitting smoking are common knowledge. If you need one more, here it is – you will leave less trash behind. Those stinking cigarette buds hiding in the sands of Phuket beaches are simply disgusting. Stop being a part of the problem. (Warning – may cause good health, white teeth and fresh breath.)
If you ever attended a Phuket beach cleanup, you know what I’m talking about – old plastic toothbrushes are one of the most common types of trash collected during those events. So, swap out your toothbrush for a wooden one and feel a great sense of satisfaction for two minutes after each meal.
In the West they force you to do it, here you can be a hero independently of state-controlled violence apparatus, you just need to make an effort first and make it a habit second. There are recycling plants spread around the island eagerly waiting for your glass and metal trash.
I love my flipflops, putting them on in the morning reminds me that I made all the right choices in life and now live a sweet, sweet life on a tropical island. And because I love my flipflops, I buy good ones, ones that will last longer than a few weeks, before disintegrating and ending up on the trash heap. And there are heaps of flip-flops landing on the trash heap! Again, join one of Phuket’s numerous beach cleanups and you’ll see for yourself.
Beach cleanups on their own won't solve the problem. But if we combine active prevention with regular cleaning, we surely will make Phuket cleaner than it is. So instead of complaining about authorities’ inaction, lack of environmental awareness and the pathetic state of the island’s waste management, do something about it. Make Phuket Great Again!