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Tackling plastic pollution on Koh Phayam

August 23, 2023


For a couple of years now, we have been active on Koh Chang, Thailand. There's a strong community and we were able to build a plastic aggregation warehouse to make it easier for them to deal with plastic pollution. We are now ready to expand our collection activities to its sister island: Koh Phayam, in the Province of Ranong.

Located in the Andaman Sea, this 35 km2 isle is known to be a heavenly destination. Unlike Koh Chang, Koh Phayam has its own electricity and water supply. There are many hotels and resorts that welcome many tourists in the high season from October to March. It is also the home of people from various ethnic backgrounds, most notably Moken and Burmese.

Lush vegetation, a beautiful nature reserve, numerous rubber and cashew plantations, and many beaches leading to clear-blue transparent waters: Koh Phayam is a truly beautiful place.

From a paradise island to a garbage dump

Many islands in Southeast Asia undergo a massive transformation during the rainy season and Koh Phayam is no exception.

Waves of plastic trash wash ashore every year leaving its inhabitants with a mammoth problem to face. Not only is this waste hazardous to the ecosystems leaving on the island, but it also is detrimental to the villagers’ quality of life.

We felt we needed to act.

Our amazing team in Thailand, who are based on Koh Chang for the most part, started to travel to Koh Phayam to raise awareness on plastic recycling and the solutions on hand.

They went from door to door to introduce themselves and explain the #tide solution. And we were lucky to have another valuable contact on the island. Pi Gai, the mayor of the isle’s Moken village is also the father of our workshop teacher, Naa. Together with our team, he coordinated a plastic recycling workshop to explain that plastic is a valuable resource and give guidelines on how to sort different types of plastic waste.

Pi Gai also agreed on taking on the role of plastic purchaser and sorter. He will be our anchor point on Koh Phayam.

Progressively, the team has been building relationships with local communities, business owners and hotels. And their efforts have borne fruit: everyone is motivated to clean the island. The #tide team will now install first sorting and collection points. An obvious starting point was the Pi Gai's village. To help with the sorting, used nylon bags have been repurposed into recycling bins, with pictures showing which type of plastic is supposed to go where.

“We are so excited to start this project on Koh Phayam. The people living here are really motivated to solve the issue”,

Carina, Koh Chang's warehouse manager

This project would not have been possible without the support of our long-term partner Maurice Lacroix, who not only launched a high-end urban watch with our material but also joined us on the Road to 1 Billion Bottles.