25 Jun 2019 - Thailand's beaches and idyllic waters continue to attract visitors from far and wide. But with more and more debris washing up on its shores, the scale of the environmental crisis threatening Thailand's marine and coastal resources becomes ever more apparent. Urgent action is needed. Thankfully, some local groups are taking matters into their own hands, often in creative and surprising ways.
A total of 80,000kg of marine debris was collected along the coasts of Koh Adang, Koh Rawi and Koh Lipe, the popular island destinations in the Andaman Sea, during a three-month period in 2016. Among the waste were hundreds of thousands of pieces of flip-flops, totalling around 8,000kg.
So far about 25% of these broken rubber sandals have been recycled, turned into stylish handmade sandals produced by a group of housewives in the southern province of Pattani. The recycled flip-flops are made under the brand name Tlejourn, meaning journey across the sea.
"We're glad to have a chance to make recycled sandals," said Supatra Cometan, 42, leader of the group. "It is a product that provides us with regular income and, at the same time, helps reduce waste. Tlejourn will make people more aware of the problem of marine waste."
Over the past three years, the group has produced about 2,000 pairs of flip-flops.
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