The simplest ideas are always the best, and that is particularly true of Trash Heroes. We all hate trash and we all love heroes, so when the heroes get rid of the trash, it’s a win-win situation. It works like this; the organizers announce a place and time for a cleanup, and volunteers are provided with gloves, trash bags and refreshments. A couple of hours later, the beach (or street, or park) is clean and most volunteers have made some new friends. Sadly, trash keeps building up, so most chapters of Trash Hero hold weekly cleanups to keep the rubbish at bay.
Since Trash Hero was formed by an eco-conscious group of friends on Koh Lipe, an island off the Thai coast, in 2013, it has grown at a rapid rate, and there are now chapters of the not-for-profit organization in a dozen countries, with more joining all the time. Thailand is the most active country of all, with 25 chapters scattered through the country. “I feel I have more self-worth,” “It changed me and inspired me,” and “Becoming a Trash Hero and meeting others helped restore my faith in humanity” are just a few comments of volunteers who have joined a cleanup.
Obviously, the simple removal of trash is not a solution to our global dependence on single-use plastic, but the group’s motto—“we clean, we educate, we change”—shows that they aim to transform people’s habits. Fortunately, several businesses are beginning to make such changes, with restaurants providing re-usable straws and many people using refillable water bottles helping to cut down the waste that is produced globally each day.
While there is still a long way to go before the world’s trash problem is solved, the omens are good. Not only are chapters of Trash Hero growing at an astonishing rate, but sponsorship is also supporting this growth, and the Tourist Authority of Thailand is proud to be among these sponsors. Trash Hero has already won Thailand Green Excellence Awards in 2015, as Winner in the Nature, Marine and Heritage category, and in 2016, as Winner for the Outstanding Contribution to Green Tourism in Thailand. It was also granted an honorary award by the Thai Department of National Parks in 2015.
It’s easy to become a Trash Hero. Simply check out their website (trashhero.org) for the nearest chapter to you, then contact the chapter for details of the next cleanup.