Marine debris is often carried by winds and ocean currents to shallow bays and coves, where it commonly settles on nearby reefs. This can cause significant damage to coral structures and other reef associated organisms, having severe consequences on the health of these reefs. The beautiful beaches that reefs help form are a popular attraction for many tourists, often receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Tourists that use these beaches may leave litter which is often collected by the ocean during high tide, and deposited on nearby reefs. As the tide starts to go out, trash items may instead be deposited onto the beach. Organised beach cleans are a great way to easily collect large quantities of trash that is deposited as the tide retreats as well as any litter that accumulates from tourist activity. Collecting trash from the beach prevents it from being carried out to nearby reefs during successive tide cycles.

Roctopus Beach Clean

The Roctopus ecoTrust organise weekly beach cleans every Friday in order to minimise levels of trash that may be carried onto nearby reefs. Roctopus contribute data to the Clean Swell project established by Ocean Conservancy, a science-based organisation that seeks solutions for a healthy ocean and wildlife that depends on it. Clean Swell is a project with an aim to keep beaches, waterways, and the oceans trash free. During organised beach cleans, the ecoTrust submit data on the total amount of trash collected, as well as which items occur most frequently on local beaches. This provides insight into what items of trash items are most likely to influence reef ecosystems around Koh Tao. Identifying the greatest contributors to local pollution is a fundamental process in minimising the level of trash that reaches these areas.

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