The educational project: a waste bank at Khao Niwet school
In 2019, the Fondation Jan & Oscar, in partnership with the Fondation Madeleine, financed the construction of a waste bank at Khao Niwet primary school in the town of Ranong. The waste bank is designed to provide a drop-off point for the various items of rubbish brought in by around 700 pupils. This waste will be bought by Ranong Recycle for Environment. The children will be rewarded with learning equipment, books and games. This educational project will help raise children’s awareness of pollution, particularly plastic pollution in the oceans since they live in a seaside town. Thanks to this programme and with the help of educational kits, children will be able to understand the issues of plastic pollution, think about limiting the use of single-use plastics (bags, straws, cups), play a hands-on role in recycling the waste, but also become ambassadors to their families and communities, and reflect on innovative solutions to these problems.
Khao Niwet school is the pilot site, setting an example for other schools to replicate in the town and then the rest of the region, in order to set up a genuine community network of schools raising awareness of plastic waste recycling. The Ranong region is particularly affected by plastic pollution as recycling is not widespread there at the moment: most plastic waste ends up being incinerated or littering the countryside, sea and coasts. Raising children’s awareness of this problem and the solutions that exist, from a very early age, is a priority for us.
The partnership with the Moken of the Surin Islands
While most collectors and fishermen go to the collection centre independently, we have developed a larger-scale partnership with the Moken living on the Surin Islands.
The Surin Islands are an archipelago in the Andaman Sea, 60 km from the Thai mainland. Today, the Moken from these islands live semi-traditionally in a village of 80 homes. However, a tragic fire ravaged their village last year. A collection of donations enabled the Moken to rebuild their houses and consider new ways to improve their daily lives. This gave rise to a project to collect and manage the waste that washes up on the coasts of the Surin Islands, or is brought in by tourists. The meeting with the Fondation Jan & Oscar has enabled them to make money from this waste, which is mainly plastic, by selling it to us at a fair price. Today, 5 Moken are employed to collect, sort and clean the waste. Every month, they amass about 300 kg of PET plastic and drift nets. The plastic collected and sorted by the Moken of the Surin Islands is weighed by them before being loaded onto the boat for transport to the mainland. Aboard his boat, the Moken village chief brings this first load over on a 4-hour crossing. The Ranong Recycle for Environment team then meets the village chief at the port to load the truck that will bring the plastic to the enterprise’s collection site.