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The Marine Debris Master Plan in Koh Tao

Nov. 01/12

Just a few weeks ago, Associate Director, Mike Holme helped kick start the Marine Debris Master Plan in Koh Tao, Thailand - one of five Project AWARE Ocean Action Projects being implemented across the globe.

The energy and enthusiasm of divers is truly remarkable. Everyone understands that they can play a practical role in helping protect the ocean. Now they are armed with the knowledge and skills to put this understanding into action.

Mike Holme, Associate Director, Project AWARE Foundation

Litter and improper disposal of rubbish is a major problem throughout Asia. The Koh Tao community has worked hard to re-manage the way waste is dealt with. But these methods only treat the symptoms.

The Marine Debris Master Plan aims to tackle the problem right at the source through educational signage for the island, beach and road bin installation, creation of a weekly cleanup crew and an anti plastic and foam box campaign.

Led by PADI Regional Manager, Tim Hunt and Save Koh Tao Foundation's, Chad Scott, the eco team put together a series of workshops and presentations to kick the master plan into action. They were overwhelmed when over 150 PADI Divemaster internees and PADI dive centre staff took time out of their busy day to get this  inspirational project rolling.

Aimed at giving divers practical skills and information on marine debris issues and ocean conservation in their own backyard, the workshops involved divers in putting together the first stages of the Marine Debris Master Plan for the island.

Mike and Chad led the group through a series of workshops on implementing actions they could take to be actively involved in ocean protection. This then followed practical workshops and hands on activities to build mooring buoy and zoning lines and begin implementation of the first stage of the Ocean Action Project: a set of educational signs for the island.

Divers were involved in developing creative messaging and visuals to help reduce the amount of rubbish currently discarded or not recycled from "Fish Don't Smoke" to "Your Butt isn't that Hot!" the signage will be displayed throughout the island.

Mike Holme said, "The energy and enthusiasm of divers is truly remarkable. Everyone understands they can play a practical role in helping protect the ocean. Now they are armed with the knowledge and skills to put this understanding into action."

You can follow the Marine Debris Master Plan's journey at: www.projectaware.org/diver/koh-tao-debris-management-plan