Maya Bay closes following extensive environmental damage from tourists

October 11, 2018 by  
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The Thai beach that Leonardo DiCaprio made famous in his 2000 movie The Beach is closing indefinitely thanks to the damage caused by millions of tourists . Maya Bay, one of the most popular destinations in the world, is a small beach with silky sands and crystal blue water surrounded by cliffs on Ko Phi Phi Leh island. But over the years, it has sustained such massive environmental damage from pollution that authorities have closed it for at least a year. The movie may not have been a hit for DiCaprio, but the film’s location became so popular for tourists that up to 5,000 people and 200 boats visited each day. Thai authorities had originally announced they would close Maya Bay for four months. They have extended the plan to at least a year because of the extent of the destruction. Litter, boats and sunscreen have caused so much pollution, it has destroyed over 80 percent of the coral around the bay. Related: University of Queensland wants to drop “bommies” on the Great Barrier Reef “We have evaluated each month and found out that the ecological system was seriously destroyed from tourism of up to 5,000 people daily,” said Songtam Suksawang, the director of Thailand’s national parks department. “It’s very difficult to remedy and rehabilitate because its beach was completely destroyed as well as the plants which cover it.” He added that there had been evidence of damage to Maya Bay for years, but the government was reluctant to close it down because of the amount of annual revenue it generates — 400 million baht (about $12.3 million). Thailand’s department of national parks, wildlife and plant conservation has said it will not lift the tourism restriction until the ecosystem “fully recovers to a normal situation.” According to The Guardian, this is a relief for local environmental activists who had argued that closing for just four months wasn’t enough. It will take years for the reef to be fully restored, because coral only grows about half a centimeter each year. Worapoj Lomlin, Maya Bay park chief, said the parks agency has already planted more than 1,000 corals to help rehabilitate the reefs, and the team will continue to expand the project. Via The Guardian Image via Joan and Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi

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Maya Bay closes following extensive environmental damage from tourists

Greek island Tilos is showing the world how to go 100% renewable

October 11, 2018 by  
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The Greek island of Tilos is nearing 100 percent energy independence using only renewable sources with the help of EU funding. The investment, which has helped the island establish the TILOS (Technology Innovation for the Local Scale, Optimum Integration of Battery Energy Storage) Project, will make the Greek landmass the first island in the Mediterranean to achieve energy independence using only renewable energy. The small island, more specifically located in the Aegean Sea, is home to merely 500 people. The population doubles during the summer months when the beautiful seascape is home to a flood of tourists from all around the globe. Despite renewable integration on such a small scale, however, the island is gaining international recognition for the adoption of a solar-and-wind-based energy system that has proven fault-free. Related: This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne Originally, the island received its electricity through an underwater cable connected to the adjacent island of Kos. The neighbor’s diesel power plant proved unreliable because of tectonic activity that led to power outages for both islands. Aside from problem of being fossil fuel -dependent, the existing power grid’s blackouts were disrupting the island’s main income source — tourism. The hybrid system taking over the island’s energy needs includes an 800-kW wind turbine and a 160-kW solar photovoltaic system. Together with a 2.4 MWh capacity battery storage, islanders and their sight-seeing guests will benefit from a consistent energy supply that will operate regardless of weather conditions or time of day. Experts say the project is so efficient that the oil-powered island of Kos will soon be importing energy from its small neighbor instead of supplying it. According to project partners, TILOS “will set the foundations for the future development and replication of similar hybrid systems in island regions and remote communities facing energy-related problems.” Other countries with islands participating in the project are Germany (Pellworm), Portugal (La Graciosa) and France (Corsica). A flyer for the German-based TILOS extension explained, “The overall idea is to create a special platform that will enable technological know-how transfer between islands, by also exploiting the experience gained from the smart grid system of Pellworm, and that will designate new opportunities for the development of similar systems in other islands.” The island’s new system will start by supplying  renewable energy  at 70 percent of Tilos’ needs, and it will reach 100 percent in the near future — undoubtedly serving as a successful model for islands in the region and hopefully worldwide. + TILOS Via Treehugger and PhysOrg Images via Chris Cherf and Ulrich Scherf

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Greek island Tilos is showing the world how to go 100% renewable

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