Koh Lipe Rubbish Problem: Trash, Building Sites & Beach Fires

The Koh Lipe rubbish problem is mentioned a lot by visitors to the islands.

It seems the problem is worst in low season, when bar and restaurant owners are using the quieter time to make repairs to their properties.

Unfortunately it seems they think it’s OK to leave construction waste on the island, bags of rubbish in the street, and allow diggers and workers to  turn areas into one giant building site.

A digger on the beach in Koh Lipe

A digger on the beach in Koh Lipe

A pile of plastic water bottles left by a path

A pile of plastic water bottles left by a path

These pictures, taken during June 2016, show the shocking extent of the Koh Lipe rubbish problem. There are huge piles of cement bags, empty plastic bottles, rubbish strewn on the beach and overflowing bins.

In terms of careless construction work, there is a JCB seen ploughing up the sand, trees being chopped down and fires burning rubbish – sending black smoke into the sky.

The scene is hardly what you see on travel sites

The scene is hardly what you see on travel sites

Workers burn rubbish at a building site on the beach

Workers burn rubbish at a building site on the beach

The commercialisation of Koh Lipe has been happening for many years now after it became a tourist ‘secret gem’ in the mid 1990s after it became known as the ‘Maldives of Thailand’ for its beautiful beaches and clear seas.

So there’s no reason that the authorities on the island shouldn’t have gotten their act together and sorted out the rubbish problem.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t like it will be resolved any time soon. There are always new developments being built on the island – leading to lots of construction work.

A man-made reservoir

A man-made reservoir

A pile of rubbish next to a sign for Home Bar

A pile of rubbish next to a sign for Home Bar

One building site behind Bundhaya Resort – which is actually a really beautiful place to stay – has a large green swamp surrounded by tin hunts for the migrant workers.

Next to this is a large construction site where a new hotel resort is being built. Needless to say, the  mess and noise caused by this is quite unpleasant.

It’s not limited to this one place, either. In June 2016 there were several new developments – all just as messy.

A view from the entrance to rooms at the back of Bundhaya Resort

A view from the entrance to rooms at the back of Bundhaya Resort

Many restaurants and bars leave trash and garbage outside

Many restaurants and bars leave trash and garbage outside

And while some new places were being built, other businesses were using the low season to repair their buildings – often causing noise and mess.

Despite all this, Koh Lipe is still a beautiful island with a great atmosphere. It still draws in the tourists. Unfortunately, while people are still flocking there and ignoring the rubbish, the Thai businesses and local authority on the island will also continue to dump rubbish and pollute the area.

A half-finished building on Koh Lipe

A half-finished building on Koh Lipe

Black bags left on the beach highligh the Koh Lipe rubbish problem

Black bags left on the beach highligh the Koh Lipe rubbish problem

It really wouldn’t take much for each hotel, bar and restaurant to contribute 100THB each a month to pay to three or four full time Thai litter pickers to patrol the island.

To me, that’s common sense – keep everything clean and more visitors will come, which in turn will generate more money. The island will prosper for longer.

But until somebody realises, it seems that the Koh Lipe rubbish problem will continue.

Read all of our articles about Koh Lipe before visiting the island

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