500 pluck trash for International Coastal Cleanup Day

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More than 500 Pattaya-area residents picked up trash and scoured the seas in the annual International Coastal Cleanup Day.

Sophon Thongdee, director of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, and Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome kicked off the Sept. 20 cleanup on Pattaya Beach with Polly Punnika, 1st runner up at the Miss Earth of Water pageant, who presided a Check-in Thailand sign to the mayor.

The event is run the third week of September each year to raise awareness about the trash problem that is choking Pattaya Bay’s waters and coral reefs and creating unsightly messes on area beaches, damaging the city’s tourist reputation.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and Polly Punnika, still wearing her tiara from her earning 1st runner-up at the Miss Earth of Water pageant, help Pattaya-area residents pick up trash from Pattaya Beach.Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and Polly Punnika, still wearing her tiara from her earning 1st runner-up at the Miss Earth of Water pageant, help Pattaya-area residents pick up trash from Pattaya Beach.

Garbage that makes it into the water also flows to other areas and kills animals, such as sea turtles, who mistake floating plastic bags for tasty jellyfish.

All the trash doesn’t emanate from Pattaya, however. Much of the garbage that washes ashore in Jomtien Beach, for example, flows down from the polluted canals of Bangkok.

In all, over 20 tons of garbage was collected by volunteers, including those from International Coastal Clean Up Thailand.