BCP sees Koh Mak as low-carbon haven

BCP sees Koh Mak as low-carbon haven

Seagrass is the focus of a multi-pronged effort to make Koh Mak a low-carbon tourist destination.
Seagrass is the focus of a multi-pronged effort to make Koh Mak a low-carbon tourist destination.

Unlike other resort islands that use beaches and the sea to attract visitors, Koh Mak is positioning itself as a low-carbon tourist destination.

SET-listed Bangchak Corporation (BCP) is helping the government create a new image for Koh Mak as part of national efforts to achieve a net-zero target, meaning a balance between greenhouse gas emissions and absorption, by 2065.

Located in Trat province in eastern Thailand, Koh Mak has long enjoyed a slow lifestyle with less modern entertainment than other resort islands. It is often said its tranquillity is treasured by both local residents and tourists.

Chaiwat Kovavisarach, president and group chief executive of BCP, said the company is working with officials and local residents to preserve the charm of the island and rehabilitate seagrass along coral reefs.

Seagrass is part of marine ecosystems and can sequester carbon. According to a report released last year by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the plants can absorb carbon 7-10 times better than forests.

Seagrass is also home to horse crabs, pen shells and more than 20 species of fish, which is good for local fishermen and tourism.

Mr Chaiwat said BCP will support seagrass planting activities by using various techniques to enhance its growth and minimise natural threats.

A memorandum of understanding to promote sustainable tourism on Koh Mak was recently signed by BCP, the state-owned Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Dasta), Kasetsart University, Koh Mak Tambon Administration Organization, Baan Ao Nid Integrated Agricultural Community Enterprise, and Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization.

The company said conservation programmes should be welcomed by local residents as they have adopted their own rules to protect the environment, including a campaign against plastic.

Pubs, bars and even convenience stores are not allowed on the island to preserve the old way of living.

Activities for tourists include coral reef diving, bicycling and marine sightseeing.

The most modern technology on Koh Mak is the internet.

Many food and drink sellers on the island also support recycled container materials.

Dasta is carrying out a Koh Mak tourism waste management campaign to improve waste collection and recycling.

The organisation wants to make Koh Mak a model for sustainable waste management.

Mr Chaiwat said BCP is encouraging local residents to use textiles recycled from discarded PET bottles, which are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a form of polyester, under the Trash Hero Koh Mak campaign.

Last year BCP announced it would cut its carbon dioxide emissions by improving overall production efficiency and utilising eco-friendly products to reduce emissions by 20% by 2024 and 30% by 2030.

The remaining 70% requires additional mechanisms such as investments in green businesses and carbon credit trade.

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