Tourism is related to environment. If environment or resources in tourist attractions are degenerated, such tourism is hard to be continued. Currently, tourists pay attention to visit national parks throughout Thailand over than 19.6 million persons per year. The problem on waste is one of major problems causing changes in natural environment affecting to image of tourist attractions whether they are mountains or sea. Although there has been a campaign asking tourists to bring their waste back with them, it is ineffective. Another worse problem is the lack of rubbish bins available in natural tourist attractions causing tourists leave waste like water bottles, boxes, and food containers at such place leading to consecutive problems.
According to cooperation in solving problem on insurgency in southern border provinces of government sector, social community sector, and local people, violence, anxiety, and paranoid has been reduced. Consequently, tourists have paraded to visit the southern border area even in COVID-19 pandemic helping to restore and enliven economy, especially tourism that has been developed and managed by communities that could become the tool for improving quality of life, reducing inequality, supporting grassroots economy, building happy living, unity, and peacefulness of communities. However, to manage tourism, it is necessary to have appropriate plan for sustainability of community’s environment and resources in the future. Formerly, there was cooperation among local communities in southern border provinces, social community sector, and local volunteer groups to develop tourism to be consistent with environmental conservation in the form of “Zero Waste Camping”.
During March 12th – 14th, 2021, there was a good activity held in Ban Purong, Krongpenang District, Yala Province, a small community that is full with plentiful nature, mountains, streams, and simply way of life, i.e., Zero Waste Camping, held by Trash Hero Pattani Trash Hero Pattani , Plogging Pattani, Rural Development Volunteer Club of Prince of Songkhla University, Ban Purong Youth Club, Toursim Authority of Thailand (Narathiwat Office), and Pattani Outdoor Recreation. This activity was not firstly held but it has been held as the 5th time in the southern border area. This activity was firstly held in Laem Tachi, Pattani. The second time was held in Suang Kong, Songkhla. The third time was held in Bang Ling Tepa, Songkhal, and the fourth time was held at Khae Khae Beach, Panarae, Pattani.
The concept of the team who held this Zero Waste Camping activity was applying the concept of Zero Waste to all activities held by them and Zero Waste Camping was one of those activities in order to communicate that we should not destroy natural areas that were tourist attractions because natural tourism also provided us happiness and relaxation. It was a kind of camping activity without leaving any waste in such areas or any burden to local villagers. After finishing this activity, participants were able to apply this principle to their daily life as well. Zero Waste may not mean zero waste of garbage only but it also means zero waste of unnecessary consumption, i.e., if it is unavoidable, there should be non-biodegradable waste less than 10%. The team has tried to conduct experiments and develop activity formats via learning and concluding lessons together between the team and participants throughout these 5 times.
The basic rules that must be complied by participants in Zero Waste Camping are taking care of themselves, travelling by themselves, and brining their own necessary facilities, for example, tents, flashlight, lamps, mosquito repellent, medicines for congenital diseases, reusable containers, food carriers, plates, bowls, spoons, forks, water bottles, and flasks. They must avoid plastic containers that could not be reused and the must bring their own food in proper quantity in order to avoid waste. Ice and drinking water was already prepared by the team whereas participants were able to bring some reusable containers for containing available drinking water and ice in order to reduce waste like plastic water bottles. In the event of any waste, participants must be mutually responsible by bringing such waste back. If any participant was unable to bring such waste back, the team provided a recycle zone for further utilization. Waste would be classified into food waste and fruit peels that would be used as animal feed or fermented fertilizer and recycle waste like water bottles or cans that would be given to juveniles in the community for selling to waste recycling plants.
After completing each activity, the team would conclude information on project’s expense-income, with emphasis on Zero profit Principles by spending all amounts of income for environmental campaigns and income for returning to local communities. The most useful operation was concluding information on waste caused by camping activity by specifying types of waste, waste kilograms, waste details and utilization, total quantity of waste, total quantity of waste for utilization, and quantity of reusable waste. Finally, obtained lessons would be concluded for improvement of further activities. This information will be communicated via social media channels of the team and important partners, i.e., sharing feelings, impression, and experiences among participants. Obtained learning was considered as the important indicator on the activity goal for communicating and building understanding on environment to society.
Besides relaxation among nature, other impressive activities for participants also consisted of many workshop activities and fun activities including making Tlejourn shoes (recycled shoes from marine waste), tie dye from natural colors, handmade books with batik cover, Slackline (balancing on rope), Pata Purong rafting, swimming in canal, and fire camping with a special show, fire performance from some juveniles of Ban Purong. After completing these activities, anyone interested in these good tourism activities are able to follow up on details and directly contact Ban Purong Community via PATA Camp Purong Facebook Fanpage. For more information on the next Zero Waste Camping activity that will be held as the 6th time, please follow Trash Hero Pattani Facebook Fanpage or Pattani Outdoor Recreation Facebook Fanpage. You will finally find that the southern border is not fearful as you think. You should try to pin your destination on any province of southern border provinces (Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat), the fear in your mind will be gone and turned to be impression.