How can you be eco friendly on Koh Lanta and travel sustainably?
There are some simple but effective ways you can make a difference while you’re on Koh Lanta, and while you’re traveling anywhere in the world.
One of the biggest and most visible problems caused by tourism is the amount of single use plastic thrown away each day. A great way you can be eco-friendly on Koh Lanta is to use less single-use plastic. This will help keep Koh Lanta clean and beautiful, and also protect marine life.
It’s down to all of us to make an effort to reduce the negative impact we have on the environment, on Koh Lanta and anywhere else.
Most tourists and expats come to Koh Lanta for its natural beauty, wonderful beaches and marine life, and its old-fashioned and laid-back way of life. Yet the more popular and built up Lanta becomes, the more it risks damaging or losing some of what makes it so special. Businesses and tourists need to be aware of the impact they have on the environment, and work together to preserve it.
Here are some ways you can help:
1. Use a Trash Hero water bottle
A MILLION plastic bottles are bought around the world every MINUTE and they can take up to 450 years to decompose.
A really simple way you can protect the environment is to reduce the amount of plastic water bottles you use while you’re on Koh Lanta and use a Trash Hero refillable water bottle instead. It saves you money too!
Find out where you can buy Trash Hero water bottles and refill them with FREE drinking water.
2. Say No to Plastic Bags
Take a reusable bag with you when you go shopping and say no to plastic bags.
Saying no to plastic bags hasn’t really caught on yet in Thailand, but tourists have the power to change that on Koh Lanta. A lot of countries are now charging people for plastic bags, which has reduced their usage significantly. This hasn’t happened in Thailand yet, and it’s fair to say that most Thais use a lot of plastic bags.
In Thailand, it’s estimated that each person uses an average of eight plastic bags every day. That’s around 3,000 plastic bags every year per person. And what happens to these bags? Well, a lot of them seem to end up lying at the side of roads or, worse, in the sea, where they kill marine life.
When you go shopping in Thailand, you’ll most likely be given a lot of plastic bags, but Thai people on Koh Lanta are getting more used to the strange farang people telling them they don’t want a bag.
If you want to say no to plastic bags in Thai, these cute Trash Hero kids show you how:
You can buy some fantastic shopping bags made from old rice sacks at Aunty Bee’s shop on Koh Lanta Noi.
3. Say No to Plastic Straws
Keep a reusable straw in your bag and say no to plastic straws.
Like plastic bags, plastic straws are really popular in Thailand. The good news is, thanks to a recent Trash Hero initiative, more bars and restaurants on Koh Lanta are saying no to plastic straws and using more eco-friendly alternatives, such as stainless steel and bamboo straws. This is fantastic but there are still a lot of places that do use plastic straws.
We know it’s not easy to avoid them but we can at least try. You need to be a bit organised to do it though. First thing is to buy yourself a reusable straw and keep it in your bag. You can buy stainless steel straws at a few places on Koh Lanta. You could also buy stainless steel or bamboo straws before you come to Thailand.
The next thing to remember is to say you don’t want a straw when you’re ordering a drink. It’s pretty safe to say that you’ll most likely be given a straw with most drinks, apart from beer.
It’s slowly changing here and hopefully soon there will be less and less places using plastic straws. In the meantime, it’s down to us, the consumers, to make the change.
Most people on Koh Lanta will understand if you say ‘no straw’ in English, but if you want to say it in Thai, here’s how:
Find out more about Koh Lanta’s no straw movement and where you can buy reusable straws.
4. Take part in a Trash Hero beach clean up
You probably didn’t come on holiday to pick up litter but, if it’s on the beach, you could be a Trash Hero and take it away from the beach. Even if you can’t pick up all of it, anything is better than nothing. Trash Hero Koh Lanta organizes weekly beach clean ups, so you can join one of these. They take place every Sunday at 4 pm. Check their Facebook page to find out the location.
Find out more about Trash Hero and how you can join their weekly beach clean ups on Koh Lanta.
5. Help Protect the Coral Reefs
Given how fragile and at risk coral reefs are, it’s really important for us to do all we can to look after them when we come into contact with them. Here are some things you can do to make sure you don’t damage coral reefs when you go diving or snorkeling:
- Don’t touch the coral or let your body come into contact with it.
- Never stand on coral.
- Secure all your diving gear, so it doesn’t touch the coral.
- Don’t pollute the water with anything, including sunscreen. You can buy biodegrable, reef safe sunscreen here on Koh Lanta at the Lanta Diver shop and Lanta Mart supermarket, both in Saladan town, and at Scubafish dive shop in Kantiang Bay. If you want to buy some before you travel, Amazon has a big selection of natural sunscreens.
- Don’t break or take away any pieces of coral.
- Don’t feed the fish. (It’s harmful to the fish, people in the water, and the ecosystem).
- Don’t fish or moor boats near coral reefs.
- Book your snorkelling trip with a professional dive company using certified instructors.
- Reduce, re-use and recycle to prevent plastic ending up in the sea.
Find out more about Koh Lanta’s coral reefs and scuba diving.
6. Support Eco-Friendly Businesses
There are lots of businesses on Koh Lanta doing some great eco-friendly things and trying to reduce the negative impact tourism has on the island. Read more about them in the post below and go support them while you’re here.
Take a look at some of Koh Lanta’s eco-friendly businesses.
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