14 Dec 2017 Press release Oceans & seas

Over 65 Phuket hotels join UN Environment #CleanSeas campaign

  • Commitments made to eliminate single-use plastics on hotel properties
  • Major international chains and boutique hotels both join campaign
  • Nearly 40 countries now committed to campaign

Phuket, Thailand, 14 December 2017 - Dozens of hotels in one of Thailand’s most popular beach destination have joined UN Environment’s #CleanSeas campaign, pledging to reduce the tide of plastic waste flowing into our oceans.

The Phuket Hotels Association is a non-profit organization with over 65 small boutique hotels and large luxury international chains like JW Marriot, Hyatt, Hilton, Novotel, Swissotel and more. One of the key strategies of the Association is to minimize and eventually eliminate disposable plastic water bottles and other forms of plastic at the hotels.

“By joining forces with the UN Clean Seas campaign, our Hotels Association is continuing in our efforts efforts to make a difference in and around Phuket. Our environment defines our destination and our management and staff of approximately 20,000 in Phuket are committed to working with local Government and international organizations to move towards a cleaner Island” said Anthony Lark, President of the Phuket Hotels Association.

"It's great to welcome the Phuket Hotels Association to the #CleanSeas campaign. Business participation is vital to turning the tide on plastic pollution in our oceans, and the tourism sector has a vital stake and key role in ensuring that beaches, coastlines and the seas are kept in pristine condition," said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. "We need everyone to get involved and take action: citizens, the private sector and governments."

The Association will also provide environmental impact training for employees to educate them to reduce harmful effects that tourism has on the island and ocean. Training materials have been developed in partnership with “Plastic Oceans Foundation” based on a short film developed by the Foundation highlighting the effects of single use plastic on our oceans. Each hotel has been asked to make individual commitments toward minimizing single-use plastic: at work, at home and in the community.

Nearly 40 countries from Kenya to Canada and Indonesia to Brazil and a number of key private sector and institutions, including DELL, Volvo Ocean Race and the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria have joined the #CleanSeas campaign, which aims to counter the torrents of plastic trash that are degrading our oceans and endangering the life they sustain. The countries account for more than half of the world’s coastline.

The flow of pollution means detritus such as drinks bottles and flip-flops – as well as tiny plastic fragments, including microbeads used in cosmetics – are concentrating in the oceans and washing up on shorelines around the world, from deserted Pacific islets to the Arctic Circle.

Humans have already dumped billions of tonnes of plastic, and are adding it to the ocean at a rate of 8 million tonnes a year. As well as endangering fish, birds and other creatures who mistake it for food or become entangled in it, plastic waste has also entered the human food chain with health consequences that are not yet fully understood. It also harms tourist destinations and provides breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying diseases including dengue and Zika.

The #CleanSeas campaign aims to “turn the tide on plastic” by inspiring action from governments, businesses and individuals on ocean pollution.

For more information:

Satwant Kaur, satwant.kaur@unep.org, +662 2882127, +66817001376