A lot of the plastic waste generated in Thailand ends up in the Chao Phraya River, which flows into the Gulf of Thailand and the Pacific Ocean. As Thailand is one of the highest contributors to plastic pollution in the world, the monks have made great efforts to curb the litter issue and help combat this global environmental crisis.
Recycling Happens in a Temple
In the Wat Chak Daeng temple in Samut Prakan Province, monks oversee a recycling machine that crushes the plastic into bales that are then shipped off to recycling plants. Over 40 tonnes of plastic have been crushed here in over 2 years.
The plastic is turned into polyester fiber and dyed. Using this completely recycled material, the monks have created over 800 sets of robes. And best of all, with the return generated from selling the robes and the help of numerous volunteers, the recycling project is able to continue.
The Community’s Support
Although most communities donate food and clothes to the temples, this is a special case: people have been donating plastic bottles and bags instead for the Abbot’s blessings.
Abbot Pranom says that many of the Buddha’s teachings align with solving this global environmental crisis. He raises awareness by telling the people living in local communities that the plastic that ends up in the rivers and oceans ends up killing many different sea animals. Even though many bring donations directly to the temple, Abbot Pranom and the monks visit the surrounding communities often and gather these donations personally.
Not only have their efforts throughout the past two years generated a great contribution to recycling, but they have also been raising awareness in the local communities, which is an incredible step towards a healthier environment.