Koh Samui is the third largest island located in the Surat Thani province of Thailand and popular for its diversity. With gorgeous beaches surrounding the island, parties in Chaweng and untouched area’s inland it is the perfect vacation island for almost anyone.
Every year more tourists visit the island; with 400 hotels that have a total of 16,000 rooms water consumption is at its limits. Every day 120 tons of trash is collected from all over the island, Samui’s trash refuse can only handle about 130 tons a day. If there is more growth, trash will become a major problem. In the early days Koh Samui never intended to have such massive growth and all these tourists have caused deterioration of the natural environment. Some examples are the accumulation of garbage and chemicals; pollutants affect water resources; and the ecology of beaches and the sea (reefs) are being harmed by overuse.
The municipality of Koh Samui recognizes these problems and has been trying to overcome them. Over the years they have supported many hotels and other facilities that wanted to become sustainable. The process however is slow and after years no real change can be seen. This is why the municipality of Samui has decided to work together with Ricardo-AEA, this is one of the world’s premier providers of information on analysis on economically sustainable solutions. They specify in making places more sustainable, and now all their focus is on Koh Samui.
The main focus will be on finding environmentally safe solutions for transportation, energy, and waste and water supply. The first steps have been taken and a research and development program has started to inform and support local communities and tourism on the island.
It is interesting to know that this project started in 2008, it wasn’t until years later that the analysis of the islands sustainability was done. This shows that everyone involved is very serious about this project, they take slow and liberate steps, going through every possible option and don’t stop until they have found a solution. The municipality officially signed with AEA mid 2013 and the main phase of the project has since then started.
In this phase a robust strategy and implementation concerning the water, waste, energy and transportation problems will be tackled. They will focus on building a durable solution, which even with the coming growths in tourism numbers the solutions will endure. The deadline of this phase is in 2017, if you want to find out more about this project, you can take a look at the Green Island Foundation website. They have tons of information about all sides of the project.
As you can read, it is a very slow process and the implementing phase has just started, the island has a long way ahead of it before it can call itself the first green island of Asia. It is however, the only island taking such drastic steps towards becoming green, and therefore I think it deserves some recognition!
Sustainability is of great importance, not only for us now, but also for the future. What do you think of this project? Did you know that you can help? Even taking shorter showers and limiting your trash can make a massive difference to any destination.