On the 22nd April 2016, the community of Koh Tao participated in the biggest Earth Day celebration to date. Not only was the intention to protect and preserve Koh Tao, but it also formed a platform to raise funds for a well known community member and conservationist, Chad Scott.
The day was divided into three sections.
The Morning – Beach and Land Clean Up
Earth day started off with a land and beach cleanup island wide. Participants from various dive schools met at different locations around the island, Crystal / Eco Koh Tao meeting at the main Lomprayah pier at 9am where rubbish bags, gloves and water were handed out. From there, each of the dive schools were allocated an area to clean.
With the heat of the sun just pelting down, local shop owners generously handed out ice cold bottles of water, fresh coconuts and fruit at every other shop we passed. It’s days like this that make you feel proud of being part of the community. The rubbish collected that morning was bagged up and left in various spots for collection.
The Afternoon – Dive Site Clean Up
The afternoon ‘Dive for Debris’ activities saw 20 Koh Tao dive centres donating one or more of their dive boats to the cause. This was biggest clean up ever of Koh Tao’s dive sites, with over 40 dive centres and 350+ divers taking part, with each dive boat assigned their own dive site to clean. The divers were charged 1,000 THB per person which included the two clean up dives and a raffle ticket for a bumper raffle that evening.
Crystal Dive / Eco Koh Tao had so many people interested in diving for debris that we had to send out 2 boats!
In total 80 divers joined our underwater ‘Dive for Debris’ cleanup which included PADI’s Regional Manager for Thailand East Giovanni Cacchione and our own PADI Course Director Matt Bolton at as well as most of the Crystal Dive / Eco Koh Tao staff.
Our allocated dive site was Aow Mao North and Aow Mao South. Crystal 2 and Crystal 3 set off to the destination. There was an incredible vibe on the boat. Everyone was there because they care about the state of our oceans and care about making a difference.
On the boat the dive leaders were briefed. Dive teams that had a max of people 5 people were equipped with Project AWARE Dive for Debris mesh bags, a glove and a cutting tool. On entering the water, teams were assigned a direction to dive, hunting for debris.
For Dive For Debris, the trash had to be sorted into different categories: Plastic bottles, Plastic waste, Tin cans, Metal waste, Fabric, Rope, Fishing line/nets and Other.
So after each dive, rubbish was sorted and labeled for their contents and dive centre. Once back at the pier, rubbish had to be taken, placed in separate piles and weighed in.
Crystal Dive alone collected a massive 149.05 kg of debris!
Island wide, an enormous 1,254 kg of debris was collected. Koh Tao’s ocean is a cleaner place thanks to ALL those involved.
100% of all funds raised from all the dive boats participating in our Earth Day ‘Dive for Debris’ were donated directly to Chad’s fund which showed an incredible generosity and community spirit from the Koh Tao community.
The Evening – Raffle Festivities
The Hacienda was incredibly generous in offering to host the evening’s events. From 6pm food stalls were open for business. Drinks flowed as hundreds of people showed up to support the event, grab some food , meet friends, take part in the games that were available and eagerly await the results from the mega raffle.
The raffle started at 9.15pm with almost 3,000 tickets sold.
Amazing prizes had been donated for the event which again had 100% of all money donated to Chad’s Leukemia treatment fund. More money was raised on food, games, even people having their heads shaved and 20% of all the bar takings were kindly donated to Chad’s fund, so needless to say the crowd was drinking for a good cause.
Earth day on Koh Tao this year was more than just a land and dive site cleanup. It was a community event and was great to see the Koh Tao family unite with a common goal all for a great cause. A family that stands together to help each other. In an amazing effort, more than 735,500 THB (over $US 20,000) was raised for Chad and money is still coming in.
A huge THANK YOU to all the organizers who and participants involved!
Author: Crystal Dive