Tag Archives: Green Cross Koh Phangan

Keeping Koh Phangan Beautiful!

27 Aug

Green Cross Koh Phangan was a volunteer group started in 2004 in an effort to curb the deterioration of the island caused by people throwing their rubbish onto the ground and into the ocean. The group originally began with organised beach cleans on the full-moon party beach in Haad Rin. Over time, some of the local businesses, such as the Haad Rin Business Association and the Phangan Tourism Association, began to pitch in and help Green Cross by sending out helpers and by donating funds.

Some years after the inception of Green Cross, the Haad Rin Business Association took notice of what was being done and saw the difference that even this small group of people was able to make. They came up with a plan to fund daily beach cleanups by charging tourists an admission fee upon entering the party. Since then, they have used that money to buy a beach cleaning machine and hire a crew of workers to clean the beach on a daily basis. The full moon party beach is now a much more beautiful beach where people can enjoy spending their time during the day, instead of just a party site.

The Green Cross group received so much positive feedback, that it soon became clear that many people all around the island have an interest in keeping this island beautiful. Moving forward from there, helped by the growth of social media use, Green Cross and its volunteer group has grown to cover many beaches around Koh Phangan. The volunteers are everyday normal people, both Thai and foreigners from around the island. The most recent cleaning day, June 1 2014, had over 30 beaches being cleaned and around a hundred participants.

The Green Cross volunteers realize that this one-day cleanup, by itself, cannot make as big of an impact as the situation requires. However, when tourists and locals are confronted with the reality—that the island cannot keep itself clean—they are prompted to change their mentality as far as waste management is concerned. There have been many instances in which tourists and locals have seen the Green Cross volunteers participating in a beach clean, taken interest, asked questions, and then ended up lending a hand. From this interaction Green Cross is able to raise awareness and to educate the local people and the tourists about the impact they are having on the environment. Having physically picked up rubbish around the island, a person is much less likely to throw their own rubbish on the ground when they have the opportunity to dispose of it in a rubbish bin!

For more information about Green Cross Koh Phangan or to volunteer at the next clean up day, please visit the Green Cross Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/greencrossbeachclean/