Last weekend I was visiting Phuket and surrounding islands for my sixth or seventh time on holiday there.
The last image I got from my short trip is now stuck in my head. Ao Nang Beach was filled with cans, bottles, lighters and waste wood washed up by the tide. That trash is piling up on Thai beaches is not fresh news, but Thai people, the media and government should be aware that this is a growing problem.
The problem is particularly bad in Sirinat National Park on the northwest of Phuket island. Phuket International Airport has joined forces with the local and national government to build an airport extension and display a great image of the country to the eyes of international tourists, so it doesn’t make any sense to see the growing heaps of trash on the shoreline of the beach next to it.
A great way of trying to improve this situation would be to join the global Blue Flag programme. This provides independent, external verification of the quality of water and beaches around the world (www.blueflag.global).
The programme has not yet caught on in Southeast Asia (or across Asia in general), but since the beach trash here keeps growing, and local authorities or residents don’t seem to care, Blue Flag could be a good solution.
Disclaimer: I have no connection, professional or otherwise, with Blue Flag. I just like Thailand; it is where I work and live. As any other stakeholder in the country, I would love to see the beaches here clean so everyone can enjoy them.