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We all know how hard it can be to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle. The choices available can seem overwhelming and it can feel that if we cannot do something on a large scale, it just isn’t worth doing. At Hidden Depths Diving, we feel passionately that we can all contribute, just a little at a time, and that we can all make a difference.
We are doing what we can to make a positive impact within the community and to the environment, and are encouraging our customers to do the same.
Seeing the rubbish generated by dive boats was so disturbing that we decided to implement a policy to reduce waste. We do not bring disposable plastic drinking water bottles on the boat. Instead, we buy large, recycled bottles of water and decant them into reusable containers. We provide cups for drinking. We do not supply cans of soft drinks, but instead provide large bottles. We estimate that we save approximately 12,000 plastic bottles and cans over a season. Whatever waste we do generate, we recycle it locally on the island.
Within the dive centre, we use energy saving light bulbs. We only turn on lights when absolutely necessary, and encourage staff and customers to turn them off when not in use. Fans and appliances that are not in use are turned off. We do not have air conditioning units within the centre, just fans. Our pier overlooks the water and customers are encouraged to sit there and enjoy the breeze!
Obviously, kit must be washed after diving to clean it and remove salt. The water is used for as long as practicable, and when it is finished, we reuse it in the toilets. We have western flushing toilets for our customers, and encourage the use of recycled water to flush the toilets – Thai style! We collect rainwater in a water tank which is then used within the dive centre. There are two cold water showers for customers to use.
We would have loved to put the more environmentally friendly 4-stroke engines on our boat, but unfortunately cost prevented us from doing so. Instead, we have new 2-stoke engines that are serviced regularly to keep them as fuel efficient as possible. We also have an energy conscious policy in running the engines. We do not run them at full throttle, causing noise and pollution, but instead at reduced throttle. With this slight reduction in speed, customers still get to the local sites in thirty five minutes. There is a hand shower on the boat so that customers can rinse off after a dive, using very little water.
When setting up the dive centre, we used local tradesmen and locally sourced materials whenever possible. We recycled as much of the old pier as possible to avoid the purchase of new wood. All of the materials we did not need were taken away by members of the community to be reused – one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure! It can be difficult to source environmentally kind products, especially living on an island in Thailand. We use biodegradable or reusable bags and biodegradable cleaning products, recycled paper and have implemented a ‘No Paper’ policy. This means that we will process as much of our administration as we can online to reduce paper use. This also avoids posting documents and so cuts down on postal air miles.