While on the island of Koh Tao, I’d volunteered to be Trash Hero on several occasions and was tickled to see that Koh Lipe had their own Trash Hero organization as well!
Koh Lipe has amazingly beautiful clean and clear waters surrounding all its edges, which honestly was surprising seeing how many longtail boats (easily over 100 with petrol run engines) were parked along the shores and the amount of trash that could be found washed up along the beaches.
Yes, this was my only critique of this otherwise lovely island. Trash could be found everywhere on the beaches. Generally the trash was washed up fairly high along the coast line so you could easily find spots closer to the water free from trash to lay on, but still seeing all the waste was disconcerting.
The Trash Hero chapter on Koh Lipe thankfully is quite well organized however. They meet every Monday at the start of the Walking Street along Pattaya Beach (if at other locations, someone at the Dive shop there will direct you). Along with the weekly trash pick-ups on Mondays they offer full day and even week-long trash volunteer programs where you can be dropped off on an island for up to 2 weeks, camp and eat there, enjoy the nature and pick up trash for 4 hours a day! Had I the time to stay longer, I would have signed up for that adventure, but alas…
I showed up along with 2 other volunteers at the end of the Walking Street on a Monday morning, and we were directed by one of the Dive Shop employees that the meeting location had been moved to the north end of Sunrise beach. So we headed off and were joined with another 5 people waiting to volunteer.
From there, we hopped on a longtail boat and headed to a nearby island (Ko Adang) to get started on picking up trash. To my surprise, when we arrived, there were at least 5 other longtail boats already there, each carrying at least 5-10 people! So in total, between the organizers (about 5) and the volunteers, there were probably about 30 of us! It was amazing to see such a great turnout!!!
We spent several hours picking up trash, then enjoyed a nice break with fresh watermelon and beers! Volunteers even enjoyed a nice swim at the end some even did some snorkeling 🙂 The amount of trash picked up in such a small amount of space was astounding!! I would venture to guess over 50 large trash bags worth! Absolutely unbelievable as the stretch of beach we picked trash from was no more than about 50 meters long.
Once the beers were consumed and the swimming was finished, we loaded the trash into the boats and headed back to Koh Lipe. From there, the group went to a local bar for some lunch and socializing.
A few things I’d recommend for anyone out there wanting to volunteer for Trash Hero on Koh Lipe: First, bring a camera because you never know where you are going to go and the beauty to be seen! Second, wear your bathing suit so you can join in with the swimming! Third, bring money and don’t make any plans after the fact if you are wanting to join the others for a late lunch after volunteering:)
But most importantly, if you are going to visit Koh Lipe, please do your part. Don’t litter while there, and join in to be a Trash Hero!!
Picture courtesy of Google Images 🙂