These Buddhist Monks are Recycling 1000’s of Plastic Bottles into Robes in Thailand

At a Buddhist temple in south of Bangkok, a monk watches as a machine presses down on 1000’s of water bottles, earlier than an enormous bale of crushed plastic rolls out with a thud.

The plastic is destined to be recycled into polyester fibres, which will likely be made into cloth for saffron-coloured robes for monks.

The recycling temple of Wat Chak Daeng is one brilliant instance of recycling for Thailand, one among 5 nations that account for greater than half of plastic on the planet’s oceans.

The monks have crushed 40 tonnes (88,185 lb) of plastic over two years since beginning the programme, aiming to curb plastic waste getting into the Chao Phraya River, which flows south to the Gulf of Thailand within the western Pacific Ocean.

“I’m working towards the Buddha’s teachings, which additionally align with fixing the worldwide environmental disaster,” says Phra Maha Pranom Dhammalangkaro, 54, abbot of the temple in Samut Prakan province, simply south of Bangkok.

In contrast to most temples the place folks give monks alms like meals and garments, devotees trip bicycles right here to supply plastic baggage and bottles in alternate for Phra Maha Pranom’s blessings.

“Donating one kilogram (2.2 lb) of plastic bottles may also help make a full set of monk robes, which has a excessive return worth, each when it comes to cash and deserves,” the monk says.

The temple has produced not less than 800 units of robes, with extra in manufacturing levels.

Every set sells for between 2,000 baht ($65.79) and 5,000 baht ($164.47), to maintain funding the undertaking and pay waste-sorting volunteers, a lot of whom are native housewives, retirees and disabled individuals.

Thailand is the fifth highest contributor of plastic to the world’s oceans, based on a report by the U.S.-based group Ocean Conservancy. The listing contains three different Southeast Asian nations and China, the highest plastics polluter.

“Not solely are the monks making a concrete contribution to recycling, however they’re elevating consciousness of their communities,” mentioned Chever Voltmer, Director for Plastics Initiatives at Ocean Conservancy.

When Phra Maha Pranom ventures into the group, villagers, each younger and outdated, come out to contribute plastics.

“In case you don’t gather these plastics, the place do they find yourself? Within the stomachs of dugongs, dolphins, whales, and plenty of different sea animals. Then they die,” he tells them

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