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There’s no excuse for filthy

I’ve been mulling over this post for some weeks now.

But actually, my thinking began years ago when, on my first visit to Bangkok my eyes were assaulted by the piles of litter around slum housing, as I rode on a bus from the airport. If you’ve been to Bangkok, or to be honest, plenty of other cities around the world, you’ve probably also been shocked by the piles and piles of trash outside the makeshift homes of those living in “slums”.

Poverty doesn’t have to equal filthy. This kind of litter comes from an attitude. A mindset. And dare I say, laziness.

I’ve just returned from another Asian country and this time I decided, while taking pretty pictures of the fishing village I am about to show you, to turn my camera around and also take photos of the filth, because things seriously need to change. (Pics below).

I was going to title this post: Poverty doesn’t have to equal filthy, but honestly this village is not in poverty. Not by local standards anyway. In fact quite contrary to being poor, these people have lovely homes. Ornate finishings, clean laundry hanging on the line and invariably a scooter parked at the front door. There’s pride here.

Fishing village house

Laundry on the line

Fishing village scooter


But cast your eyes down to the low tide and it’s astonishing.

This is a fishing village. A FISHING village! These precious souls eat the fish they catch in these waters, and not only that, they rely on the fish for their incomes. They are not dirty people, but I can only assume they have no understanding about the impact the rubbish you will see in my pics below is having on the sustainability of their food supply – not to mention their daily health.

I used the public toilet and was shocked to discover that it was a porcelain bowl with an opening into the sea. What is the sanitation like in every house that stands on stilts on this island?

Fishing village toilet

That white hole is light from the outside. You wash the contents down with water from this plastic bucket



High tide


Low tide


How simple this is to fix




There must be a solution!


Surely the governments of villages like these need to step in. It wouldn’t take much to turn things around. It’s actually very simple.


Here are 5 audacious ideas I make to change the lives and the fortunes of these people all over the world…

•   Education on the value of a clean sea for the people who live in these fishing villages – and who need the fish to make their living.

•   A paid day of clean up where everyone in these villages (and I’m not naming and shaming this village as there are many all over the world just like this one) is paid a day’s wage to clean up and toss the years worth of trash into skips that local government can organise.

•   A ready workforce of prisoners and those on the equivalent of “parole” to be put to work for a few hours every day until these villages are clean.

•   Ongoing clean up crews from the above points or even, good Lord is it possible, new jobs created by local government.

•   And finally, once more, education, education, education! From school lessons to community meetings.

Because these are just some of the lives that depend on it…












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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!