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The Phuket Hotels Association and the US Embassy, through a Science Fellowship Programme, have partnered to tackle waste management challenges in Phuket with a goal to significantly reduce single-use plastics at Phuket’s hotels.
The Phuket Hotel Association’s 65 member properties, representing nearly 11,000 rooms on the island, say they have already reduced the volume and types of single-use plastics in operation and will eliminate the use of plastic water bottles in guest rooms by 2019.
When implemented next year, Phuket will become one of the first tourist destinations in the world to have made such a large commitment to managing marine pollution and addressing the problem.
During the project, Dr Marissa Jablonski, a US waste management expert, investigated plastic use and waste management at the island’s hotels and resorts.
She offered sustainability solutions during 45 site visits, developed a customised best practices list, conducted six workshops for hotel leadership and staff, started a green supplier list, and trained staff on the ground.
Several hotel managers appointed environmental stewards to continue these efforts.
Jablonski also worked with businesses, government and civil society to raise awareness and put forward solutions.
“Our oceans and resources are under tremendous pressure from a variety of threats, including marine pollution,” said outgoing US ambassador to Thailand Glyn Davies.
“By 2050, scientists assess there could be more plastic than fish [by weight] in the ocean if we don’t act. We are proud to bring an expert to engage in this unique public-private partnership with the association to help find practical solutions.”
President of Phuket Hotels Association Anthony Lark said the oceans are choking on plastic and it is our duty to tackle this problem.
“We are thrilled to announce that this project empowered our member hotels to eliminate all plastic water bottles in rooms next year. This represents literally millions of single-use plastic water bottles that will be eliminated from Phuket’s waste stream,” Lark said.
Jablonski will speak on September 24 at the Phuket Hotels for Islands Sustaining Tourism Forum, a new regional sustainability forum for the hospitality sector.