Conservation volunteers preserve Andaman Coast above and below the surface
Marine conservation volunteers in Thailand have continued their efforts to protect the coastal regions and island habitats of Krabi, by participating in a variety of clean-up projects over the past months. Projects Abroad Thailand has been working closely with local government and NGOs on these projects for over two years. Our role in these projects has reinforced our position as a leader in promoting environmental awareness and sustainability in the region.
Diving for Debris
Projects Abroad volunteers participated in Krabi’s sixth annual “Cleaning Our Fish’s Homes” event, organized by the Kingdom of Thailand. Working in teams with government divers, volunteers went diving to collect underwater debris in the Phi Phi National Park Area, primarily surrounding the islands of Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh.
These diving teams receive special training on how to removal debris in a safe and environmentally-friendly way, enabling them to clean marine ecosystems without further damaging coral reefs. Our volunteers extracted a total of 330kg of refuse during the two-day clean-up. They recently participated in two more beach clean-ups, collecting over 166kg of refuse on the beach of Noppharat Thara and 255kg on Ao Nang’s Long Beach.
Sadly, most of the rubbish on Krabi’s shores is left by tourists on day-trips to the Andaman Coast’s beaches. Projects Abroad is committed to sustainability and understands the close, and often environmentally harmful, connection between tourism and development. By setting a positive precedent, volunteers hope to contribute to a more secure future for Thailand’s beach tourism.
Working Above the Surface
Volunteers have also been working hard to ensure the cleanliness of regional beaches and shorelines above the surface. Much of this is achieved through Projects Abroad’s endeavors in mangrove reforestation.
Mangroves provide essential nutrients to marine ecosystems, provide protection from cyclones and storms, and are home to many organisms such as barnacles, crabs, young reef fish, including sharks, and birds. Mangrove forests in Thailand are being destroyed at an alarming rate for commercial reasons. In order to counteract the negative impact of deforestation, Projects Abroad volunteers have been involved in mangrove regeneration efforts for several years.
Through seed collection, planting and growing saplings, volunteers work to raise awareness of the importance of mangroves in preserving coastal landscapes and protecting marine life. Together with local NGO, Mangrove Action Project (MAP), Projects Abroad Thailand has made mangrove reforestation a key priority among its conservation initiatives. This year, volunteers have worked with MAP more closely than ever to regenerate mangrove forests destroyed by shrimp farming. Volunteers have dedicated their 2015 mangrove projects to the island of Koh Klang in the Krabi River estuary.
As part of Projects Abroad’s mission to take marine conservation above the surface, volunteers regularly visit local schools to teach children about the importance of healthy mangrove forests. Volunteers take great pride in sharing their enthusiasm for environmental responsibility. Nevertheless, Projects Abroad Thailand understands that only through collaboration with Thai authorities, local residents and NGOs, can the beauty of the Andaman coast be preserved for generations to come.