On my last update I was super excited about the progress that we had been making at our adopted dive site Laem Thian. Our continued effort had seen less and less trash being collected from under water and the beach and we were all really proud of our efforts... and then the weather changed.
Here on Koh Tao we had some of our expected monsoon like weather, it was a solid week of rain and wind. On the island there was a lot of flooding, trash being swept around the island, and a lot of run off into some of the bays that we dive in. All pretty normal, if not a little upsetting, for this time of year. On the morning that we were walking to the instructor exams with our now 3 brand new instructors, we saw huge amounts of trash on the beach. It had clearly been swept in from mainland and neighbouring islands through the night and we there and then decided to get a beach clean underway in between exams and confined water presentations.
Thankfully because we are such an eco focused school, when Gaz (our course director) and I returned to the shop the team were already out collecting trash from the beach and had managed to bring in 140KG of trash. I knew that our Aware adopted dive site was going to be bad because of this. It is a tiny bay that catches all sorts of trash when there is bad weather. I wasn't prepared for what we saw when we went there 2 days later. The beach was COVERED in trash. It was so upsetting! We spent over an hour picking up bottles, straws, needles and hundreds and hundreds of tiny pieces of polystyrene. Overall we collected nearly 154KG from the beach and 7KG from underwater.
It's disheartening after my last post, but we'll keep going. We even had help from some locals on the beach that day so hopefully the word will spread more and more every time we get people involved in our monthly dive and beach cleans. I'm sad at what we found, but will remain hopeful that the more people that see this, will think about the choices they make when buying single use plastics or polystyrene.