How to be an Eco Traveller on Koh Tao and elsewhere

 

Koh Tao

With all the excitement of travelling and endless adventures ahead of you, reducing your carbon footprint may be the last thing on your mind, but for the avid traveller it should be something to consider. Not just to reduce your own impact, but to ensure that the travellers of tomorrow can enjoy the same beauties you experienced.

With short haul flights becoming easier and cheaper to come by, more and more people are opting to travel by air. While it may be the quicker way to travel, it’s definitely the harshest from an environmental perspective. And let’s be honest, there are way more interesting ways to get around!



Train travel

Koh Tao is a very small island at only 21km squared; most places are accessible by either walking, scooter, taxi or longtail boat. If you haven’t used a scooter before, Koh Tao is not the place to start. The roads can be dangerous due to bad weather and other road users. If you don’t feel comfortable riding a bike, pick-up taxis are widely available to and from most areas around the island. It’s also a lot more eco-friendly as you can share your taxi with a few people – which also makes the journey cheaper!

When looking for a dive school on the island, it is important to look at their mission statement to see how they present themselves in the diving world. The key things to look for are whether or not they have a good understanding of the dive industries impact on the ocean, and whether they actively do anything to help reduce that impact. The easiest way to check this is via their website and social media pages to see if they do regular land and sea clean ups, or run any conservation projects.

Finally there are simple steps you can take to reduce your impact on the island and the wider environment:

  • Refuse plastic bags when shopping.
  • Clearly state no straws.

Plastic straws

  • Try to use reusable containers if ordering takeaway food, they are easy to come by and are available in all the supermarkets on the island for about 25 Thb, if you don’t want to travel with it, hand it into one of the dive schools or one of the street stalls, they will gladly use them.
  • Koh Tao is very low on fresh water so whilst you’re here think about the amount of water you are using on a day to day basis, even if it something as little as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, it can make a difference.
  • Cigarettes! If you are a smoker please don’t throw your cigarette ends on the floor or in the sea, it doesn’t look very nice and the fish around the island gave up smoking a long time ago!
  • If and when you do go diving or snorkelling around the island, be aware of your buoyancy and where you place your fins so that you don’t damage the local reefs as they are home to a lot of marine life.
  • Avoid applying sunscreen within an hour of entering the water for diving or snorkelling. Sunscreen contains harmful chemicals that instantly wash off into the ocean destroying fragile coral and marine life.

Plastic in the ocean

If everyone travelling followed these simple steps we would be well on our way to helping preserve the environment for future generations of travellers, so think ahead and try to leave every destination as beautiful as you found it.

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