Keeping the Beaches Thai-dy

Kathryn Kehler is a student at the College of Charleston and was an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Bangkok, Thailand.

I once heard that the islands of Koh Larn and Koh Sak in Thailand were once beautiful beaches, with healthy, massive coral reefs surrounding them. Wildlife thrived. Hundreds of species drifted on and away from the beaches, littering the massive blue seascape with bright brilliant colors. I heard of the nesting sea turtles around the beaches and that there weren’t trash and tour boats and hoards of people on the islands. This brief history lesson is over.

What remains now: over populated tourist beaches filled with trash and people who could care less. To assist in keeping their home clean, the locals will burn the trash that the tourists produce, but burning plastics does nothing good for air quality. When I look out to sea, I’d want to be looking at a massive expanse of blue that meets blue, a scene scattered with some mountains in the background. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead, I see a row of ferries that brought the crowds of people to the beach today.  The boats are anchored using a rope that is wrapped around the coral reefs below.  Watch for a bit, and you could see drunken tourists throwing their trash away without a waste bin. Where does it go? I along with the locals, was on the beach picking it up.

Rows of boats lined up and tied to the already dying, if not dead corals. Ask a tourist if he thinks the corals are healthy; he’ll say yes, but he’s wrong.

The noise pollution alone is enough to drive any animal in their right mind away from this place. The boats are so loud in the water that I could distinguish the different motors when I dunked my head in. On top of that, they let out noxious fumes into the air and expelled gas into the water. It was enough to break my heart a little.  On my trip, I learned that there is hope!


This picture speaks for itself, I think.

It’s hard to appreciate the serenity of nature when your livelihood depends on people who destroy it.  Luckily the professor leading the trip that I was on is planning to propose a cleaner way to introduce tourists to the island by minimizing the number of ships that come to shore. He’s also has plans to build a coral reef out of used glass bottles that have washed ashore to create a space for his students to come and study the ecosystem and biodiversity of the Thai beaches. Hopefully sustainable tourism is something that can be be implemented in more places so we can save the rest of the planet and enjoy its beauty at the same time.


The world awaits…discover it.


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