Cape Town - Thailand is home to some of the most exotic dive locations in the world. Yet this popular holiday escape, being a visa on arrival destination for South Africans and the baht a lot more forgiving than the euro or the dollar - is not without its challenges when it comes to pollution and plastic affecting its reefs.
So, if you're headed to Thailand on a dive holiday and want to do add your mark in a good way by cleaning parts of its ocean, you'll want to sign up for the ‘Save the Ocean & Save for Your Next Dive’ campaign.
Building on the success of the ‘Upcycling the Oceans, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently kicked off this new incentive, offering divers the chance to earn discounts on dive trips, in return for helping to protect Thailand’s marine ecosystem.
Interested divers are encouraged to take part by following just three simple steps, says TAT.
SEE: Thailand: Budget-friendly escapes for South Africans
First, they need to inform a participating dive operator that they would like to join the project. The dive operator will then give them a special rubbish collection bag. Second, divers collect rubbish while enjoying their dive, and return the bag to receive a stamp on their ‘Diving Passport’. Third, they can use the stamp to redeem exclusive discounts on their next dive trip with a participating dive operator.
Participating operators and dive sites are located in easy reach of Bangkok, on Thailand’s picturesque Eastern Seaboard – from the conveniently located Ao Sattahip and Ao Samae San in Chon Buri to the magical island of Ko Samet and the hidden gem of Hin Phloeng in Rayong province.
The campaign is part of ‘Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand’ – a project that is a collaboration between TAT, PTT Global Chemical (PTTGC) and the Ecoalf Foundation – which aims to not only transform plastic debris found in the ocean into thread to make fabric, but also to preserve the Kingdom’s crystal-clear sea and unspoilt coastal areas.
During their dive, participating divers are encouraged to practice their buoyancy control while also being careful to maintain the fragile ecosystem they are helping to protect – for example, when removing fishing nets from coral, it is best to use scissors to carefully trim the net and not pull it in such a way that will cause the coral to break.
For more information and for a list of participating dive operators, visit www.utodive.com.
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