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Koh Lipe Hotels

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Responsible Tourism

The development of tourism on Koh Lipe is a new economic resource to the island, but if precautions are not taken in the early days of expansion, over time this industry may negatively affect the island environment and Chao Ley community.

With the annual increase in tourism, plastic waste also increases on the island. The collection and recycling of this waste is difficult at the moment, but there are programs in place. Please assist us by depositing your plastic waste in the big containers around the island, or returning the plastic to the origin of purchase. Of course, the best method to keep this problem under control is to reduce the amount of plastic you use.

What you should know and can do to help

Koh Lipe is a small island, fresh water supplies do seem abundant but that may not be the case in all locations. Please be mindful of wasting water and try to keep unnecessary consumption to a minimum.
Well water is safe for washing clothes and for pottery, it is not safe to drink.
Brushing teeth out of the tap or bathing with exposed wounds should be avoided unless the water has been boiled.  Boiling water kills most of the contaminates and parasites that live in the water.

Water Management

Water is one of the basic necessities for survival. If it is not used and managed in a safe way, we risk sickness and water becomes a danger to us.  During the underground filtering, water can get contaminated by many things; dirt, detergents and soap released by people, animal feces, rubbish and oil and many others.  Drinking this water can introduce micro-organisms, which could lead to infections with fever and stomach-aches.  Parasites reproducing in our system can put our bodies into danger and weaken the immune system

Water is stored during the rainy season and collected in big blue drums.  The island is rich in fresh water that has been filtered through the ground.  Rain water is used for cooking and drinking.   Well water is used mainly for washing clothes and for bathing.  Its when the people start to drink the well water that the problems start.

Lipe’s Water
The Italian Association GEA Onlus has analyzed the water contents on Koh Lipe for safety levels and to suggest to the local people as well as tourists, better water management.  They have concluded that the rain water is clean and free of bacteria, toxic substances and unsafe micro-organisms.  However, there is an unsafe level of contaminates in the well water.  Conclusions are that the water is contaminated by:

  • Soap and detergents because people bathe or have built showers and toilets too close to the wells
  • Burning of rubbish near a well
  • Some bungalows and houses are built very close to existing wells, micro-organisms in sewage from the toilets eventually seep into the well water and may get recycled through the showers.
  • Most of Lipe's resorts and business operations have a "bottomless" septic tank which relies on a natural filtration process through the ground.
  • The island tries to 'regenerate' for six months during the low or off-season, but the more sewage and waste that is filtered, especially with the increase in Tourism as of late, the more contaminates have a chance to infiltrate the fresh water wells or filter onto the beach and ocean. The island will become saturated and no longer be able to filter the good from the bad. In other words, you will be bathing or swimming in others excrement!

Rubbish Management

  • paper decomposes in 2-5 months
  • orange peels in 6 months
  • cigarette filters take 12 years to decompose
  • plastic decomposes in 450 years

Recyclables – rubbish such as aluminium, paper, plastic, and glass can be collected and sold. It can quickly become profitable for the Chao Ley community if they take precautions or if the greedy resorts do not let them collect.  There are various recycle bins located around the island and in a few resorts.

Toxic – rubbish such as batteries, oils, paints.  These should be separated and taken along with the recyclables and deposited in safe areas on the mainland.  Give your used batteries to your resort (don't just ask them, double check that they are properly disposed of) Best to deposit them yourselves on the mainland.  Do not throw them in the rubbish bins, they will get burned and become very dangerous! Acid soaks into the soil and can contaminate groundwater, plants and can be toxic for animals


Other – rubbish such as straws, foam, etc..  As of now, most plastic water bottles and aluminium can be lumped together and recycled. All other rubbish is burned!

A double edged sword: It costs money to transport the recyclables.  It needs to be profitable for the locals in order for the system to work.  Rubbish is collected here and put on a boat, the boat either dumps it in the ocean and pockets the money, or it is deposited in a landfill on the mainland and burned.  Either way, it is bad.  Until better solutions are in place, the island will continue burning rubbish.

If you wish to help, or have alternate solutions, please contact us

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