The campaign, which sees local residents clearing litter from the canal and washed up strewn along the banks, follows the initiative of Theeraphong Penmit, who works for the Patong Municipality Division of Sanitary Works, failing to get any action taken to get the canal cleaned up.
“My house is near Kalim Beach, but I drove my boat to be repaired at Pak Bang Canal in December. That’s when I saw that the canal had a lot of trash both floating in the water and along the banks,” Mr Theeraphong explained.
“I told my boss about it, but he said they would need to bring it up at a meeting ‘to find a way to solve the problem’,” he told The Phuket News.
Exasperated by the lack of action, Mr Theeraphong dived in and just started cleaning the canal himself.
“That was in January, and I am still doing it,” he said.
“Every Monday to Friday, after work at about 5:30 pm, I go to collect trash from around the canal. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes a day. Each day, I can collect about 60-80 kilograms of trash,” Mr Theerapong explained.
The litter and other refuse collected is then disposed of properly.
Mr Theerapong’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.
“On Sundays, I have friends to help me to collect trash. We help each other to separate the trash collected, and we give the bottles and cans to the poor villagers who live in that area so they can sell them (as recyclable waste) and make a little money from it,” Mr Theerapong said.
“Every Sunday at 8am I go to collect trash around the canal with eight to nine friends, who come to help me. Sometimes I use my boat,” he added.
Mr Theerapong understands the the unending task he has taken on for himself.
“I’ve been collecting trash from the canal for more than three months, but there is always more trash there because people still litter or dump their rubbish in or along the canal,” he said.
“Me and my friends use my boat to see up and down the canal, and we have seen where the trash comes from. Myanmar workers who live in worker’s camp nearby dump trash into the canal, and we have found trash coming from tour buses and the Malin market,” Mr Theerapong explained.
“I want Patong to be a clean city, a world-class tourist city. I don't want tourists to see this trash, and so I will keep on collecting trash from along the canal,” he added.
“If anyone wants to help, you can join us every Sunday at 8am at the pier at Coral Beach (on the southern side of where Pak Pak Canal empties into Patong Bay).
“Or you can ask for more information at our Facebook page 'ขยะมรสุม' (“Storm garbage”),” he added.
Click here to visit the Facebook page.