Featured in countless films and ads, Thailand’s beaches are renowned for their crystal blue water and picturesque views. Yet the country’s rapid growth and heavy tourism has created a darker side, with many of the sandy shores now littered with trash that pollutes both the eyes and environment. In a bid to make a difference by raising awareness and reverse this unfortunate trend, the NIST International School service group Ocean Marine Guardians (OMG) banded with students from 12 other international schools on Saturday, 13 September for Clean Up the Reef Day. Heading to the beach at Ko Sak off the coast of Pattaya, they spent several hours collecting trash.
This recent trip was the seventh for OMG, which is student-initiated and student-run, as are all of NIST’s student service groups. It has traditionally worked with Mermaids Dive Center in Pattaya, but this trip set a new record for the number of participants. By reaching out to other schools in the area, OMG rallied 250 other students to join them for the day. With such a large group out in force, several hundred kilos of trash were collected, including a huge amount of plastic and glass bottles, both whole and in pieces; Styrofoam; discarded fishing nets; cigarette lighters; and even a large number of flip flops and other discarded clothing.
OMG, which strives to promote sustainable choices to conserve our ocean ecosystems, aligns to NIST’s philosophy of informed engagement of social and environmental issues. Students of all ages learn not only to recognize the causes and complex factors that contribute to these problems, but also to independently identify solutions and take action. This approach empowers them to connect with others and use their abilities to bring about positive changes in our communities.
To learn more about NIST and its service programmes, visit http://www.nist.ac.th/extra-curricular-activities/service-activities