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Moken Guardians of the Sea: Safeguarding the Ocean from Plastics

Our project aims to reduce marine plastic pollution by collecting Ocean Bound Plastic in southern Thailand in a circular economy approach and supporting local precarious minority. Since April 2019 the Swiss Foundation Jan & Oscar has been running a plastic sorting facility with direct access to the sea in Ranong, allowing fishermen to bring and sell plastic with their long tail boats directly at our pier. We provide education for young students, a place to live, employment and income opportunities for local precarious minorities, of which are the Moken, an ethnic group of semi-nomadic fishing people who live on several islands in the Andaman Sea.

4. Quality education8. Decent Work and Economic Growth11. Sustainable Cities and Communities14. Life below Water
  • Ranong Recycle for Environment Social Enterprise : The Social Enterprise goal is to collect Ocean Bound Plastic waste and process it for our customers to recycle/upcycle it. We are working with coastal and island-based waste collectors. And we employ people from Moken and Burmese communities to process the plastic at our centre. Our business model is based on collaboration between the private sector, the civil society and the government. We only work with partners who support the strong environmental and social impact of our project. All profits generated by the social enterprise will be used to fund services for local communities.
  • Local communities : Supporting local communities is at the heart of our project. This is done in two ways: buying Ocean Bound Plastic from the local collectors living on the neighbouring islands of Ranong (islands collectors) or on the coastal mainland (land-based collectors) ; and employing workers at our waste collection center. We provide training, decent work conditions and salary, and a place to live to the workers. We provide additional income for the collectors, buying them plastic at a price higher than the market price. These groups include members of the Moken community. Their traditional way of life has been under threat for several years because of intensive fishing and plastic pollution. Most of these exceptional swimmers live under the absolute poverty line and are not registered citizens. These groups also include other socially marginalized individuals (Burmese migrants, single moms).
  • Schools of the Waste Bank program : Education and awareness of young people is one of the best ways to fight marine plastic pollution in the long term. That's why we have created an educational program that includes the construction of waste banks in schools in the region. The pilot location for this program is Khao Niwet School in Ranong. In 2019, we founded the construction of a waste bank where students can bring recyclable waste. We held workshops in schools to sensitize children about pollution and recycling. In 2021, the Waste Bank scheme is expanding to 5 schools in the Andaman Sea islands.
Stakeholder picture
Stakeholder picture
Stakeholder picture
Stakeholder picture
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Our actions

Run a plastic collection and sorting facility with direct access to the sea
Recruit and train of personnel on plastic sorting focusing on socially marginalized communities - Moken and Burmese
Engage local schools in our waste bank program
Find new market and innovative solutions for upcycling ocean plastics
No. of students involved in our programmes

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Target: 750
No. of people working at Ranong Recycle for Environment

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Target: 15
No. of islands on which plastic was collected since January 2020

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Target: 6
No. of waste collectors involved in the project

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Target: 40
Total amount of Ocean Bound plastic collected since January 2020 (in kg)

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Target: 130000
No. of island-based groups of waste collectors involved in the project

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Target: 10
Workers declaring they feel trained to recognize different types of plastics since being involved with the project

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Target: 80% totally agree
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Our outcomes

New income opportunities created for minorities (Moken fishermen) and socially marginalized individuals by collecting and sorting plastics
Increased visibility of our project at the local, national and international level
No. of followers on the Facebook page

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Target: 5000
Kg of PET plastic bottles recycled through the facility since January 2020

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Target: 100000
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Our impacts

Reduced plastic leakage into the ocean
Creation of a new plastic economy
Cleaner environment and beaches
No. of 100kg bales of plastic produced and stored in the centre since January 2020

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Target: 1200
Workers declaring they are more aware of the plastic pollution of the environment since being involved with the project.

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Target: 80% totally agree or slightly agree
No. of students stating they have changed their behavior regarding waste sorting and recycling

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Target: 400

Who we are

Mrs. Laurence Pian
Jan and Oscar Founder
Dr. Michel Pardos
Project Leader
Ms. Chutima Janto (First)
Islands coordinator - 2nd Life Project manager
Ms. Capucine Paour
Project coordinator
Mr. Nirattisai Ponputi (Chay)
Operation manager
Ms. Boondarik Jampathai (Bua)
Volunteer for Jan & Oscar Foundation
Mr. Henri Klunge
Volunteer for Jan & Oscar Foundation
Ms. Elena Zhikhareva
Volunteer for Jan & Oscar Foundation
Mr. Aung Naing OO
Employee of Ranong Recycle
Mr. Min
Employee of Ranong Recycle
Som O Pramongkit
Worker at Ranong Recycle
Mrs. Manaw
Worker at Ranong Recycle
Nui Pramongkit
Worker at Ranong Recycle
Mrs. Amina Kan
Worker at Ranong Recycle
Mrs. Daw Lae Lae Win
Worker at Ranong Recycle
Look Pramongkit
Worker at Ranong Recycle
Ms. Jutamart Naorachan (Bow)
Coastal communities and education Projet Coordinator
Wut
Worker at Ranong Recycle
Koy
Worker at Ranong Recycle
Mizu
Worker at Ranong Recycle
Ploy
Worker at Ranong Recycle

What we are looking for

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A second-hand forklift to carry the plastic bales from the warehouse to the truck.

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A second-hand pickup truck.

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Volunteers to help at the recycling center in Ranong, south of Thailand (minimum stay of 3 months).

They are supporting us