What can we do to protect the environment as we celebrate Loy Krathong?
The history of Loy Krathong is rooted in the practice of paying our respects to the water goddess and appreciating the value of water in our daily lives. It is also associated with sending away bad luck and this is why many people gather on the banks of lakes and rivers across Thailand to float these Krathong.
However, many times these Krathong pose an environmental problem for many of these water bodies and the ecosystems they support. Many Krathongs are made with plastic or styrofoam, and plant material and are floated with wax candles and incense on them too. Most of these materials take a long time to disintegrate, if at all
According to the Thai National Geographic the carbon footprint behind the Loi Krathong festival is on the decline. This year Bangkok has announced a collection of 812,000 total krathongs from rivers and canals in the capital. The good news is that over 760,000 are made from natural materials,whereas only 52,000 krathongs used foam or other synthetic materials, representing a 6.4% decline since 2008. The proportion of foam or other synthetic materials, now only accounts for 13% of the total, reflecting the growing awareness of environmental problems associated with the festival.
What we are doing as a community
The UWCT Community is aware of the potential negative effects of this loved tradition and therefore we take the following steps to reduce the negative environmental effects of celebrating Loy Krathong on campus:
- Use only biodegradable plant material to make all Krathong
- Use plant material from our campus
- Do not use candles or incense sticks
- Float the Krathong in a confined water body in our school fountain pond
- Reflect on the practice of gratitude while floating Krathong
- Collect all Krathong after the ceremony
- Compost all Krathong to make mulch for schools gardening
While it is important to participate in traditional ceremonies as they unite us as a community; we believe that we must respect the environment while doing so. In this way, we make every effort to honour the essence of the tradition without compromising the sustainability of the environment for our own, and future generations. VIEW PHOTOS