Over the years, I’ve visited Rayong, Thailand several times and have never been impressed as, unlike most other beaches in Thailand which are incredibly clean, the beaches in Rayong were dirty and strewn with garbage. So, I’m not surprised to now see a video making the rounds of Thai news media showing one of Rayong’s disgustingly dirty beaches, overflowing with garbage — paper coffee cups, plastic bags, plastic bottles, shoes, rice sacks — you name it, it’s either on the beach in Rayong, floating in the water, or has already made it up the beach and is lying nastily around the fishing boats.
Of course, Rayong city officials say they’ve offered minimum wage jobs (read about 260 baht or $8.66 a day) to get the beach cleaned up, but nobody wants to take the jobs. Not surprising really. Who would want to clean up that disgusting mess for less than 10 bucks a day?
The problem too is many Thais and the lack of education they receive about the harmful effects of garbage. First of all, you don’t see many garbage cans in Thailand, you just don’t. So when you have to walk around carrying garbage from that drink you just finished or the snack you just had, eventually many Thais will just dump it on the side of the road, as there is nowhere else to put it. The garbage then gets washed away when it rains and ends up in a canal somewhere and, eventually, out into the ocean.
Second, many Thais don’t seem to care about dropping garbage right where they stand, even if there is a garbage can 10 feet away. In fact, I have several Thai friends who were educated or lived in the west, who have said they say something negative to another Thai who’s just dropped garbage in the middle of the street several times a week. Of course, they also say the admonishment goes right over the Thai’s head and, next time they’re holding garbage what will they do with it? Drop it where they stand, obviously.
As for the beaches in Rayong, they’re pretty disgusting and not a place I would ever want to spend a holiday with kids while the beaches are in that disgraceful state. It seems like many Thais agree judging by the comments left all over Thai media about the matter.
Maybe it’s about time Thailand used its massive prison population for doing something useful with their time in prison? Like being taken to Rayong for the day to help clean the beaches. A day in the fresh air, a meal that is not prison food, and a chance to do something positive. Not a bad idea, really.