Help to keep Haad Rin clean: Green Cross Koh Phangan
Posted on Sep 2, 2014
The Green Cross Conservation was started in 2004 to help keeping Koh Phangan clean and stop people from throwing their trash onto the ground or into the ocean.
A group of local beach volleyball players noticed an increase in rubbish in the sand while they played on Haad Rin and were worried that if things continued in this direction, Koh Phangan would become full of trash.
One day, a dolphin washed onto the shore where the group was playing two-on-two volleyball, they went to see what was wrong with it and discovered that it had suffocated on some plastic waste. That incident solidified their concerns and spurred them to begin organizing beach cleans on the Sunrise Beach in Hatrin. GCC was soon supported by the Koh Phangan Tourism Association and has been ever since.
Haad Rin Beach is now a cleaner place!
Only a few years after the Green Cross Conversation started their work, the Haad Rin Business Association took notice of what was being done and saw the difference that even a small group of people was able to make. They started to fund beach cleanings on a daily basis by charging tourists an admission fee upon entering the party. Since then, they have used that money to buy a beach cleaning machine and hire a crew of workers to clean up the beach on a daily basis. The full moon party beach is now a much more beautiful beach where people can enjoy spending their time during the day and not only a party site.
The positive feedback showed the Green Cross Conversation Group, that more people around the island have interest in keeping this place clean and beautiful. There are no GCC teams cleaning over 30 beaches around Koh Phangan on a regularly basis.
Of course, it is important to remember, that this one-day cleanup, by itself, cannot make as big of an impact as the situation requires.
However, when tourists and locals are confronted with the reality—that the island cannot keep itself clean— there is a chance that they change to contribute to a clean island. Many times tourists do now see the volunteers and decide to join them and clean a part of the beach they are staying on.
Having physically picked up trash around the island, a person is much less likely to throw their own trash on the ground when they have the opportunity to dispose of it in a rubbish bin.
And even newcomers will much less likely throw their garbage onto the floor on an already clean island if they see the locals disposing of their trash in the correct areas.
How to make Koh Phangan a cleaner island
Litterers have to be provided with information to change their behavior. GCC has spread awareness on the issue by cleaning beaches that are noticed by tourists and locals alike but more needs to be done.
Therefore, The Green Cross Team would now like to begin adding other methods as well. This will involve anti-littering signs everywhere on Koh Phangan and training in the island’s schools.
An “Environment Awareness day” will soon be introduced in the local schools so that the future generations begin to understand what will happen to their home if their habits do not change. A GCC teacher team will come into the classrooms and do a small presentation for the students. They will also be shown a short movie, and get some information brochure. The future of Koh Phangan will be bright with an environmentally educated youth on the island.
Finally, GCC also plans to initiate a large scale ‘Green Event’ to get awareness from Thai locals, foreign locals and tourists. The event will be a Recycled Art Competition, which will be held in Haad Rin during New year’s time and will include teams of 1-5 artists who will have a certain time frame to create art sculptures made of recycled materials they find around Koh Phangan. The sculptures will be shown on Haad Rin Beach where tourists will have a chance to vote on a winning sculpture. The competition will be open to anyone and the winning group will receive either cash prizes or vouchers from local businesses.