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Wed, 11 July 2018

Phuket Hotels Association Partners U.S. Embassy Science Fellowship Program

The Phuket Hotels Association has joined forces with the U.S. Embassy Science Fellowship (ESF) Program with the aim of eliminating single-use plastics at the island’s hotels.

 Founded in 2001, the ESF Program promotes bilateral cooperation in the fields of science and technology. Since it was launched, nearly 300 scientists have provided their expertise to projects around the world.

Under the latest project, Dr. Marissa Jablonski, an appointed Fellow of the program, is conducting a 60-day research project in Phuket. Using the latest technology and data collection tools, she will investigate plastic use and waste management at the island’s hotels and resorts. At the end of her assignment, Dr. Jablonski will create a final report detailing recommendations for the elimination of single-use plastics at all Phuket hotels and resorts.

Ambassador Glyn Davies. Click to enlarge.

“So much depends on the health of our oceans,” said U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Glyn T. Davies (pictured). “That’s why the U.S. Embassy is very excited to engage in this unique project with the Phuket Hotels Association to reduce and eliminate marine plastic pollution. This complex challenge requires creative solutions such as this public-private partnership. During her time in Phuket, Dr. Jablonski will work with business, government, civil society, and others to raise awareness on this issue and put forward concrete solutions.”

While Thailand is only the 20th most populous country in the world, it is believed to be among the top six plastic polluters. If urgent action isn’t taken, there could be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050. This would have a devastating impact on marine environments and food chains.

Anthony Lark, President of Phuket Hotels Association, said, “Plastic pollution is one of the most critical issues facing the planet today. The world’s oceans and the creatures that depend on them are choking on plastic and it is our duty to tackle this problem. Our collaboration with the U.S. Embassy is another example of how the Phuket Hotels Association is taking decisive action to preserve our local environment. Dr. Jablonski's recommendations will pave the way for our member hotels to overhaul their waste management techniques and eliminate single-use plastics. If these practices are put into action at all of our 70-plus member properties, it will have an incredible impact on the local environment.”

Lobby of The Boathouse Phuket on Kata Beach, one of the most famous hotels and wine cellars in Thailand. Click to enlarge.

Reducing plastic is one of the Phuket Hotels Association’s primary goals. It has already set up a working group dedicated to eliminating plastic water bottles in hotel rooms and reducing other single-use plastics within the hotels, such as drinking straws.

The Phuket Hotels Association also conducts regular beach clean-up events and hosts staff training and education workshops on the negative impact of plastic on the environment. To facilitate this, the Phuket Hotels Association has even translated and created Thai subtitles for the documentary “A Plastic Ocean,” in partnership with the Plastic Oceans Foundation.

Teaming up with the ESF Program marks the next major step in the association’s efforts to tackle plastic pollution. Dr. Jablonski is an expert in her field and will work alongside the Phuket Hotels Association, member hotels, and local authorities to analyze and evaluate waste management at hotels and resorts across the island. She will also seek to raise awareness within the community about marine plastic pollution, including educational visits to local schools.

See also: Sustainable Hotels and MICE Interview with Grace Kang of Greenview Hospitality - HD Video and Podcast.

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