It’s no surprise that Thailand is one of the most plastic-polluted countries in the world. Plastic products can be found everywhere. Many different drinks are sold in plastic bottles, which are often paired with plastic straws, which are all then packed into plastic bags. Yet 50% of all of this plastic packaging is only used once, what we call single-use plastic.
Ultimately, these plastic products get dumped into our oceans. In fact, one of the most harmful environmental problems in the world today is caused by tons of plastic being dumped into our seas. Thailand, alone, pollutes these waters with more than 1,000 tons of plastic per year. Researchers have predicted that by the end of the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish and coral combined.
To combat the disastrous plastic pollution problem in Thailand, Sang Foundation (“sang” meaning “light” in Thai) encourages people to do their part in saving the environment. They aspire to create and execute awareness campaigns that educate citizens about how they can adopt environmentally friendly behaviors. Importantly, they have a penchant for creative approaches in raising awareness about environmental issues – especially among kids and teens.
For example, they organized an Alice-in-Wonderland themed Mad Hat Tea Party where participants transformed trash and recycled materials into hats and other fashion projects. Creative, hands-on activities like this are particularly engaging for children and young people!
Another noteworthy awareness campaign began in July 2017. The United Nations environment unit in Bangkok invited Sang Foundation to build a giant whale installation. The founder of the Sang Foundation, Mutsumi Adachi, worked with Thai Taiyo Tent Company to create Bobo The Whale, which was a giant whale that contained various types of plastic within its belly. Beyond this visual, the whale also had educational components, including interactive features to educate the viewers about the environmental issue as well as a poem that expressed the sadness of this problem.
To complement these ideas, the United Nations also invited New York’s Clean Ocean Organization to design a 4D VR video called the “Lonely Whale.” This video enabled participants to clearly visualize and understand the experience of a lonely whale swimming inside of a sea full of trash, swallowing plastic debris in the ocean, and suffering from a slow and painful death.
Bobo The Whale has since become an interactive and educational traveling exhibition. It stayed at the UN building until the end of September before moving to The Regent’s International School in Bangkok until the end of October. From there, it moved to Bangkok Patana School. In this way, Sang Foundation uses Bobo to spread awareness to people throughout Bangkok, with a clear emphasis on educating the youth. Sang Foundation aspires to display Bobo The Whale (and many other sea creatures) in places like Central World and in additional Thai schools in Bangkok; a small Bobo model is in the works, which would allow the display to be installed in smaller spaces.
Currently, Sang Foundation also works with several other groups making waves for their environmental causes: Trash Hero Thailand, Precious Plastic and Grin Green — all are working towards education, awareness and action surrounding single-use plastics. Recently, the groups supported the School Strike 4 Climate Change, where students in Bangkok marched in busy areas of Bangkok and petitioned the government to address the problem of plastic pollution now.
How we can all support Sang Foundation’s mission:
- “Reuse” → Choose products that can be reused, such as reusable shopping bags, natural bamboo straws, stainless steel water bottles, glass food storage containers, and other everyday items.
- “Refuse” → As often as possible, choose items that are not packaged in plastic and bring your own reusable products with you everywhere you go.
- “Reduce” → Lower your plastic footprint by reducing your consumption of products that contain plastic.
- “Recycle” → Recycle anything that you can’t reuse, refuse, or reduce.
- Become a volunteer! Participate in collection and cleanup efforts, including beach-cleaning and trash-collecting activities.
- Donate to Sang Foundation so that they can implement more projects. Even small amounts go a long way!
For more info, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Sang Foundation