Welcome lovely Phanganists to the island from your dreams. The place you have wondered about and drooled over since seeing your first image of a tropical paradise be it on a postcard, poster or television.
Many people adorn their homes in the West with images of this tropical paradise, to welcome the warmth and peace and nature into their cold, grey brick houses. Daydreaming of the time they will escape to one of these beautiful places…
Now you’re here. Whether you are part of the young, full moon backpacker crowd, the yogi looking for nirvana or the family with innocent children on the trip of a lifetime, you all have a big responsibility when coming to Koh Phangan.
Yep, things about to get real guys.
As our world develops and evolves it gets much more easier to visit far flung locations such as Koh Phangan, your dream of spending time on a tropical island is now an attainable reality as it is for thousands of others. But what happens when more and more people come here? We bring our stuff and it stays. This lushious paradise gets loaded with all that us humans make, do and bring and it is time for us to act and take responsibility.
Be a responsible tourist and change your ways to be more sustainable, it’s in the name guys, let us ‘sustain’ Koh Phangan for future generations, for ourselves and for the beautiful Thai people who welcome us here.
It is even more important to adhere to your Phangan responsibilities if you are a long termer, an expat or someone who visits the island regularly and to inspire the people who do visit just the once.
You have most likely heard the saying ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and do you know that they are in order of importance and priority? So the most important thing to do is to reduce the amount of waste you use. However, unfortunately there will still be trash around even through our efforts to reduce it.
One of your Phangan responsibilities is to clean up after yourself (and sometimes others we’re afraid). Explained here by veteran environment volunteer and protector Sima;
“Pick up trash if you see it on the beach....if you don’t pick it up, who will?
Imagine if everyone passed picking up the trash they see. The trash will stay there forever.
On the other hand, if everyone picked up one piece of trash every time they saw it, imagine how clean we could make it! I always carry a plastic bag with me wherever I go in case I end up at a beach and there’s trash to be collected”.
It’s an easy thing to do when you give yourself the ethos of ‘leave no trace’. Leave the beach or wherever you go as you found it, even better is to leave it even cleaner!
As well as picking up the trash, say no to plastic, one use items and extra packaging.
John of Eco Thailand; “Take control of your own life, your own actions... And make a positive contribution to the environment. Just do it”.
You will be offered a plastic bag each and every single time from all shops so learn to ‘say NO’. Have your own bag, a large bag if you know you will be doing some shopping and maybe you can learn “Mai Ow Tung Ka/Kap” which means ‘No bag thanks’. This is the same issue for plastic straws, just use your mouth, it’s what it is there for!
Help to encourage and educate others whilst you are here, maybe people in your hostel who you get to know are not aware of environmental issues and just a small comment or action can show others and make them think.
If you are looking to help more whilst on the island you can keep up to date with Eco Thailand, Trash Hero and PIP (Phangan Island Project) who are always in need of volunteers!
But finally, remember your responsibility to this beautiful place, you are just a mere guest to Koh Phangan, unfortunately it does not have its own arms to pick up after you, take self responsibility, open your eyes and be aware.
If you really love Koh Phangan then show it!