Last time we cleaned Mae Haad beachwas just after we opened after monsoon. Incredibly we managed to collect over 100 kilos of rubbish that day so it was going to be interesting to see what the situation was like now.
Today we collected 41.2 kilos. Again the problem area was the abandoned resorts on the beach where the boat taxis pull their boats ashore to fix them. Over 90% of all the rubbish we collected was here. The majority of the rubbish was glass beer bottles and polystyrene food boxes.
These boxes were in a plastic bags along with plastic bags for the sauces and plastic forks and spoons, years of toxic waste wrapped in more toxic waste. Our most interesting find were toilet brushes, two of them and of course flip flops – six of them!
The other thing we find a lot of on a regular basis is sand bags. These are made from a type of plastic that breaks down into strands of plastic like a net. These bags get delivered to the island with containing sand for construction. A lot of the time they are then used for rubbish and are taken to the tip but most get used as sand bags to make barriers to protect property from flooding when it rains.This is a self perpetuating circle – building requires bags of sand, building causes run off and flooding, bags of sand are need to protect properties. As the plastic starts to degrade it gets washed into the ocean with the next heavy rain fall this breaks down into ever smaller pieces which then enter the food chain of the aquatic life. It suffocates or gets stuck in their gut’s preventing them from digesting their food and it releases toxins into the water affecting reproduction and growth. This is the same for all the plastic that enters the ocean.
We took the clean up effort underwater in the afternoon and joined the boat to Japanese Gardens. We dived there last week and found a lot of debris in the water so we were keen to get out and do something about it. A few of our divers were also eager to join in too and more hands are always good! We got dropped at Red Rock and swam around into Japanese Gardens collecting rubbish as we went. The main problem was the bay and this is where we spent most of our time collecting. We collected plastic sand bags and water bottles and you can see the full report here.
We done good today so the only things left to do was take the rubbish back to Master Divers and weigh, count and log all the data before sending that information to Project Aware. And say thank you to everyone that helped out. Great job guy, well done!