Ocean trash impacts the health of wildlife and people on a global scale. Trash on the coastline specifically poses a significant threat to marine animals that get entangled in it, mistake it for food or it contaminates the delicate nearby ecosystem with pollutants.
Trash on land routinely washes into the sea, contributing to a global problem.
Here on Koh Tao, we're doing our part to stop the pollutant trash at the source -- our shorelines. But we would also like to put a recycling management plan into action, which will partner with the local tourism industry and businesses on the island.
Koh Tao Clean Up 2020 is a partnership of ocean-loving local residents and island visitors to collect trash around the entire shoreline of the island to dispose of, recycle, and up-cycle it property before it has a chance to breakdown into the water and cause further damage. Action is needed now before it's too late. Since the beginning of the operation when COVID-19 hit the world hard, volunteers have collected more than 250XL (and counting) trash bags of plastic and lots of other large plastic items from both the beaches and the hard-to-reach rocky boulders along the waterline. But we know we can do way, way more!
The long-term aim is to provide an ongoing, sustainable, volunteer-based cleaning service AND build a reliable plastic management and recycling system on the island. Recycling as much as possible on the island to be used wisely and creatively, which eventually could sustain itself from the sale of the products. Unfortunately, at the moment there, is an endless flow of plastic arriving on the island and it is having a negative impact on the surrounding coral reefs and marine life. This is a resource we can utilize! It can be turned into a positive commodity and product items that the island could benefit from. For example, bins for beaches or boat buoys, building materials, road tiles, roofing tiles, furniture, hand crafts etc. So many useful items can be made with the plastic that gets washed up or already wedged into the rocks - but we need the tools, boats, and machines to do so.
With the funds from this fundraiser, we aim to support the events on Koh Tao by purchasing supplies to help volunteers - bags, gloves, water, knives, builders sieves, shovels, fist aid kits, as well as fuel and local driver costs for volunteer boats to transport people to and from the remote areas and get trash out of those craggy, bouldered shorelines. We also plan to purchase larger power tools to make clean-ups more efficient, including a cordless outdoor vacuum, which will better extract weathered styrofoam particles and micro plastics from between rocks and boulders, as it tends to disintegrate before it washes into the ocean and into the marine life food chain.
You can see all this in action on our Facebook page: Koh Tao Clean Up 2020.
With additional and ongoing funds, we also intend to rent or purchase and to house a plastic recycling plant operation using a business model and equipment from a company like Precious Plastic, a company with a proven history of setting up plastic recycling management. Machines such as shredders, extrusions, and mechanical sheet presses will allow us to more easily recycle the plastic we collect and start making the useful eco items. Once it is up and running, it could also supply beach bins and other items to the surrounding islands and beyond.
This is all possible with your help! Please join us in building a vision for a plastic-free ocean.
Koh Tao Clean Up 2020