Blutopia in South East Asia: A plastic paradise?


For the new Paralenz members

Blutopia is a French charity founded by 2 ocean lovers, Julien and Malaury. Both of them have the same dream: to dive in a plastic-free ocean. To turn this dream into a reality, they have decided to dedicate their lives to the ocean. Their mission? To empower citizens and organizations so that they can act to rid the ocean of plastics. Since the beginning of January, they have been on the road to meet solutions for a cleaner ocean and, eventually, produce a movie to promote those solutions.

Chapter 1: Thailand

It all started in the country of freedom, Thailand. After a couple of days in Bangkok to get used with the Asian atmosphere, we moved North to visit a waste sorting factory in Phitsanulok. Wongpanit. Well, it was not the best meeting given that we do not believe in recycling, but it was still interesting to understand the situation of waste in Thailand. Check out our Facebook page to see the video. Afterward, we went to Chiang Mai.

There is a lot to say about this city. Many initiatives are popping up there. It is definitely the eco-leader city in Thaïland. We had the chance to meet Shayne, who founded Chiang Mai Clean City, and Rodrigo, who developed our favorite solution so far, Conscious Bags. As we fell in love with its temples, its people and all the good initiatives to save the ocean, we changed our plan and decided to come back later during our journey.

Chapter 2: Myanmar

After 2 weeks in Thailand, we crossed the board from Mae Sot, Thailand, to Myawaddy, Myanmar. We are conscious that our ecological footprint will be quite high this year so we do our best to minimize it. When possible, we travel by bus or boat instead of a plane from one country to the other and within each country. In Myanmar, we did not find as many initiatives as in Thailand, which makes sense since the country is way less developed.

It might be the reason why people are not yet using as many plastics as in the neighbor country and can often be seen with their reusable stainless steel containers to buy their food. Still, I am afraid that the plastic tide will submerge it soon as Friedor, founder of Thant Myanmar and ChuChu, told us that the situation is getting worse and worse every year. Plastic means modernity and cleanliness. Plastic is convenient. Fortunately, the work of Trash Hero Myanmar can help spread the word and raise awareness about plastic pollution to encourage people to take action for a cleaner ocean.

Chapter 3: Back to Thailand

We stayed in Myanmar for 20 days before going back to Chiang Mai as promised. We spent a couple of days with the Superbee team, putting all its heart to produce a reusable alternative to plastic wraps.

Time to get in the water around Koh Phangan

We were missing the ocean. We needed to feel the salt on our skins and to say hi to turtles and sharks. We crossed all the country in a night and ended on Koh Phangan. Finally, we are going to talk about the underwater world and the Paralenz. During this week, we collaborated with COREsea, the Centre for Oceanic Research and Education. Thanks to scientists and volunteers, they are able to achieve many things: marine conservation, marine research, coral survey, and dive training. We had the chance to do 3 dives with them and, of course, I brought my Paralenz on each and every dive.

Despite bad underwater conditions, I could record a ghost fishing net removal, a coral survey and the set up of artificial structures. Thanks to its compact size, I could record actions while getting involved in the projects. Besides, from one dive to the other, the water went from blue to green. Thanks to the DCC feature, I could easily swap and set the color of the water. Join the Facebook group Paralenz World to watch amazing Paralenz videos: we will post some from our stay in Koh Phangan soon.

Discovering the diving industry on Koh Tao

After Koh Phangan, we had a short boat trip and arrived on Koh Tao. As a diver, you should know this island, don’t you? This is literally the diving island. An industry. More than 60 diving centers on a small piece of land. During the whole day, you can hear the compressors and the tanks hitting each other. It is particularly hard to find peaceful spots underwater. Unless you choose Roctopus. We collaborated with them because they have a full non-profit program focused on marine conservation: Roctopus ecoTrust. They work on coral restoration, sustainable behaviors, research and education as they provide ecoDivemaster training. We did 4 dives with the team. The underwater conditions were better than around Koh Phangan but still not perfect. We were leaving the island for the day, I was filming in 4K and I could easily record all my dives. This means that the autonomy of the Paralenz exceeds 2 hours. Any challenger?

Only 7 dives in 2 months

You counted it right. I would love to dive more but we mostly need to act on land to save the ocean from plastics. More than 80% of the trash found in the ocean comes from land. Cleaning should be the last step. We must focus on reducing drastically our single-use products consumption first.

What’s next?

Blutopia in Cambodia. We are currently in Siem Reap. We will be back to the ocean soon. After Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, we will stay on Koh Ta Kiev and Koh Rong Samloem to get a glimpse of the impact of plastics on the Cambodian islands. We will then head to Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia. This is the very beginning and we have already met more than 20 initiatives. It proves one thing: change is coming. Are you part of it?


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