The Making of the Warehouse on Koh Chang
Koh Chang is a small Thai island located in the Andaman Sea, close to the border of Myanmar. For decades, the people on this green and fruitful island have been living in harmony with nature and animals.
They are using solar power for electricity and wells for their water supply. But in recent times, their paradise was disrupted by an emerging problem: plastic pollution. It’s coming from everywhere, washed ashore, threatening fauna and flora.
Especially when it’s rainy season, beaches and mangroves transform into waste bins for plastics.
Something had to be done.
That’s how we from #tide got in contact with Carina and Florian. They told us that the island was in desperate need of a waste management system. Thanks to their incredible commitment, we were able to set up a mutual plan for a warehouse where the islanders could store the plastic waste before they would transport it with a longtail boat to #tide’s facility in Ranong.
It was a day before new year’s eve 2021, when the Royal Thai Navy helped the locals to straighten the land, with their tractor and their manforce. Within a few weeks, the basic structure for a stable warehouse was ready, a warehouse that would withstand heavy storms in the rainy season and protect from the sun at the same time.
Beside the warehouse a bungalow made from wood was built to serve as office and shelter, thanks to a roof that consists of palm leaves. «It was our big goal to work with materials that were already existing on the island», Carina and Florian are saying. «That’s how we came up with the idea to use the huge amount of glass bottles that we found on the island and incorporate them into the wall of the warehouse.»
As of today, the #tide warehouse on Koh Chang is open 3 times a week, and everyone – from Thais, to Burmese or Moken people – knows that they can bring their “catch of plastic” to the warehouse.
Not even a year after the whole adventure started, the islanders collected more than 15 tons of plastic, which has been stored in the warehouse and then been transported to the mainland to a social enterprise, where we from #tide continue to give waste a value and a second life.
"The response is wonderful», Carina recaps, the beaches are cleaner and the sea is clearer." Plus: Many people are happy to have an extra income, as they are being paid for the kilo plastic.
The warehouse on Koh Chang was only possible thanks to the great financial support from Maurice Lacroix. The Swiss watch brand is committed to help us saving 10 million bottles from polluting the ocean. The construction of the warehouse on Koh Chang is one of the key projects to achieve this goal. We are very grateful.
Big up also to our local partners who helped us making this possible – from the workers on Koh Chang to the team in Ranong.
That’s what a drop makes!
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