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Grass-roots efforts help clean up trash-filled Thai beaches

Volunteers and entrepreneurs fight to keep plastic pollution out of the ocean

Trash Hero volunteers in Ao Nang, Thailand. The grassroots beach-cleaning movement has spread across Thailand and even into other countries. (Courtesy of Trash Hero)

BANGKOK Even the remotest depths of the world's oceans are not immune to plastic pollution. Research recently published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution revealed alarming levels of toxins in crustaceans living in the Marianas Trench, the deepest known ocean trench.

The top six sources of ocean plastic waste are China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Thailand, according to a 2015 study published in the journal Science. The task of cleaning up discarded lighters, spent light bulbs, toothbrushes and plastic toys from beaches and waterways across Asia is daunting. But in Thailand, a grassroots movement, an entrepreneur and a hotelier have all proven that individual action can make a difference.

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