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Frenchmen Use Holiday To Tackle Pollution On Remote Island

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Frenchmen Use Holiday To Tackle Pollution On Remote Island | Samui Times
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After Phuket became one of Thailand’sCovid-19 hotspots, two Frenchmen decided to take a short, relaxing holiday in a remote island off the Gulf of Thailand. But that holiday turned into a two-week stay when they arrived to find the uninhabited Koh Rap suffocated with garbage.

A shocked Gil and David (who wished not to have their surnames published) had visited the island previously just a couple of years ago, saying that it was beautiful and pristine. Now, they say the island has turned into a trash dump; it was littered with rubbish brought in by the tides and visiting fishermen. They decided to set up camp and spend their time cleaning.

Frenchmen Use Holiday To Tackle Pollution On Remote Island | News by Samui Times

How they managed to stay on an uninhabited island is a stroke of ingenuity in itself. The men, reportedly upon seeing the mess, took a boat to Surat Thani’s mainland, some 40 minutes away, and brought back a car battery coupled with a solar panel and other supplies to help them survive while cleaning the island in a move that spoke volumes about their motivation to help the environment.

Gil and David thought that they were alone in their efforts until resident and owner of Tropical Season Samui, Swiss national John Muller, came bearing gifts of food, water and more waste bags. Muller is a sailor and fisherman who ventures out on his boat almost on a daily basis and noticed activity on the island. He decided to investigate and was surprised to see the two Frenchmen taking on the initiative to collect rubbish.

Frenchmen Use Holiday To Tackle Pollution On Remote Island | News by Samui Times

“I was utterly taken aback. I didn’t expect to find anything on the island let alone two Frenchmen cleaning. I’ve been coming to Koh Rap for many years and have never seen another person,” said Muller. He says since the two men have arrived, they have cleared a majority of the island, collecting over 100 bags of rubbish.

But the Frenchmen were at a loss as to how to transport the large amount of trash and were planning to bury it. Coincidentally, Muller happened to be a friend of Trash Hero Samui’s Brent Jones and informed him of the large-scale effort.

Soon after catching wind of the situation, Jones organized a Trash Hero event to bring more help to the Frenchmen on Koh Rap. Naphat Tourism also donated a boat for the day to help them transport the trash to the appropriate waste facilities.

Frenchmen Use Holiday To Tackle Pollution On Remote Island | News by Samui Times

Jones said, “I have visited the main islands off of Koh Samui and they are all littered with trash. This was my first time to Koh Rap and I realised that most uninhabited islands in the Gulf must be in really bad shape. The garbage is coming from the ocean as well as being left behind by fishermen. We always find fire mounds full of glass and half-burned plastic bottles, along with larger materials like gas cans, nets and ropes among others. These islands have become dumping grounds.”

He also says something that many undoubtedly agree with, “We have some of the most beautiful islands in the world and they’re all littered with trash. The only thing we can do is try to educate and encourage others not to pollute the islands.”

As Thailand’s south is a tourism magnet, Jones says the amount of trash is bad for tourism and clearly the environment.

For those who are interested in helping clean up, you can visit https://www.facebook.com/TrashHeroKohSamui/ or www.trashhero.org.

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