Wednesday, September 24, 2008
A PERSONAL COMMITMENT
A personal commitment to keeping Jomiten Beach clean
In an ideal world, beaches would be pristine clean providing a welcoming and pleasing environment for visitors. However, in the real world they are often dirty and not particularly inviting.
For six years now, Gerry Rasmus an American from Hawaii has voluntarily spent between 7:00 and 10:00 am each day cleaning Jomtien Beach. We recently went to see Gerry in action. We were interested to observe him working, to hear about his background and how he got involved in keeping beaches clean.
Our conversation firstly led us back to Hawaii some twenty-five years ago. Around this time, Gerry was questioning the purpose of his existence. Out of this searching, Gerry became aware that his purpose was to concern himself more with the world, especially the environment. As this interest in the environment began to develop, he became concerned about the state of Hawaiian beaches. This prompted him to do a daily beach rubbish clearance.
Six year ago, having reached retirement age, Gerry came to live in Thailand. However, his concerns about the environment remained undiminished. He spent one year in the Isaan town of Buriram, where he daily cleared the river, which was being used like a rubbish dump.
From Buriram, he gravitated to Jomtien where he observed that things like plastic bags, plastic cups, cigarette filters were adversely affecting the beach environment. As a result, he began a daily beach cleaning programme with the help of his lovely Thai partner Fun.
Gerry stresses that thoughtless disposal of rubbish affects not only the beach but the ocean with garbage being indiscriminately thrown off boats. This has visible effects with rubbish appearing at the water’s edge and sea life dying through eating things like cigarette ends. Gerry often swims out to sea to clear unwanted rubbish from the water.
He also cites another contributory factor causing dirty beaches and oceans, namely the disposal of hazardous materials in gutters or down storm drains. Pollutants from the storm drain system drain directly into channels and creeks directly to the ocean. So Gerry’s message is before you pour anything in the gutter or drain, think twice.
A vision Gerry has is for colourful rubbish containers to be placed all along Jomtien Beach. He would also like the general public to be educated on keeping the environment clean and how this can be achieved.
Gerry has coined a phrase for the practice of cleaning beaches. He calls it waster/sizing, in other words cleaning beaches and getting exercise at the same time. We would commend Gerry for the work he is doing and hope that others will join him in waster/sizing so as to make Pattaya/Jomtien beaches amongst the cleanest in Thailand.