In cooperation with the Royal Thai Navy, more than 30 Overseas Adventure Travel associates from the Bangkok office spent a day restoring dying and damaged coral reefs, helping to raise awareness of the importance of environmental conservation for staff and the local community.

The navy officers  provided a lecture on marine ecology and basic training on how to plant coral, and the team planted corals and transplanted them into ocean. The team also released baby sand sharks and baby blue crabs, and cleaned up trash on the beach.

As ocean temperatures rise due to global warming, corals around the world are stressed and “bleached”. The corals react by expelling algae and become completely white.  With over 2,000 miles of coastline and 43,000 acres of coral reef, Thailand has experienced an increase in coral reef damage from 30% to nearly 80% in the last decade. Recently, the country shut down 10 popular diving sites in a bid to slow a coral bleaching crisis.

A coral reef is home to large numbers of marine organisms, protects coastline from the damaging effects of wave and storms, and provides jobs to local economies from fishing and tourism.

Coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on earth, rivaled only by tropical rain forests. They are made up not only of hard and soft corals, but also sponges, crustaceans, mollusks, fish, sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and much more.

The health, abundance and diversity of the organisms that make up a coral reef is directly linked to the surrounding terrestrial and marine environments. One very important element of the reef ecosystem that is often overlooked is the land. Pollutants, nutrients and litter enter near shore waters through rivers, streams, underground seepage, waste water and storm water runoff. Even areas hundreds of miles from the coast can affect the clarity and quality of water flowing to the reef. It does not matter how far removed a pollutant may seem, it all flows down stream and it can all impact our marine environment and our reefs.

Submitted by: Thailand Country Manager, Wichai Osathirakul