FB group ToB calls for plastic-free tourism after a cleanliness drive in St Martin’s Island
Members of a Facebook group, Travellers of Bangladesh (ToB), in a cleanliness drive, cleared out 555kg of plastic waste from the shores of the only coral island of Bangladesh – Saint Martin’s - from Friday to Sunday.
The cleanliness drive conducted by the FB group that went viral on social media platforms received praise from people across the country.
ToB is a Facebook group that caters to avid travellers of Bangladesh, with more than 1 million members. Throughout the year, the group organizes several trips to picturesque destinations.
While travelling, they noticed that many tourist spots are losing their beauty due to the amount of litter left behind by tourists, mainly plastic and glass bottles. Hence, since 2017, they began a “responsible tourism” initiative in order to clean out tourist spots alongside travelling.
A team of 39 travellers set out on October 3 to St Martin’s Island for the cleanliness drive that was a part of the “responsible tourism” initiative. They brought back 39 bags of garbage to the mainland in Teknaf via trawlers, and handed them over to a shop that buys plastic and glass bottles.
Niaz Morshed, organizer of the drive and ToB group admin, told Dhaka Tribune: “Even while travelling, a tourist has a social responsibility. We ask all tourists to remain aware of this fact. Since ToB is a giant platform, we can create awareness via this medium. We have decided that we will try to clean every destination we visit. We started this cleanliness drive visiting the Lowacherra National Park in Srimangal earlier.”
“We ran this kind of drive in St Martin’s Island last year as well. The point of this drive was to create awareness for the public who will be visiting the island over the next six months, its peak season, so that they litter less.”
ToB asked travellers to bring back their own trash from tourist spots.
This year, ToB is planning similar drives in Srimangal, Kuakata, and the Sundarbans.
Niaz further said that young locals from St Martin also joined their drives. The amount of plastic collected does not even amount to one-fifth of the litter on the coastline of the island.