Mizuiku, Suntory Beverage & Food Thailand’s water conservation project continues to convey knowledge of water conservation to cultivate awareness at Youth Camp in Krabi

November 07, 2023


Water is a necessary element for ecosystems and all living organisms; freshwater makes up about 3% of the water on Earth, while salt water occupies 97% of the total. Over the past few decades, Thailand has consistently struggled with water-related issues, including drought and flood conditions, the problem of deteriorated water resources and contamination from metropolitan areas, industry and agriculture. To solve these issues, we should work together to preserve the limited freshwater resources that will be suitable for human use in the future, and be able to withstand the balance of the environment.

In order to encourage local youth groups to take the lead in becoming the agents of change in environmental reform and developing into responsible citizens, Suntory Beverage and Food (Thailand) Company Limited, in collaboration with the Department of Climate Change and Environment, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Environmental Education Centre (EEC), continue to carry out the third year of the Mizuiku Water Conservation Project by hosting the ‘Water Conservation Camp’ to inspire Thai youth to protect the environment and the waterways in their community in line with national and international missions to "Save Water and Save Nature for a Sustainable Thailand”.

The Water Conservation Camp is held in the coastal area of Krabi province. Thirty of the teachers and students from Ban Ko Jum School in Nuea Khlong District and Ao Luek Prachasan School in Ao Luek District, recently joined in acquiring knowledge from the environmental classroom and learned about the aquatic animals and the natural ways of the sea in Maya Bay to help the young people appreciate, protect and conserve their own local waterways.

Mizuiku, the water conservation project has been in operation continuously since 2021 with the goal of educating people about how to conserve water and other natural resources. This year, the project intends to take water conservation efforts from the provincial to the national level by including teachers and youths in four provinces and four regions. This will include preserving the watersheds of the forests in Chiang Rai, teaching about the Mekong River’s water conservation in Ubon Ratchathani, highlighting the value of water through the farming of sea bass in Chachoengsao, and learning about environmental and water resource conservation in Krabi.

Mrs. Chongrak Thinagul, Director of Climate Change, Cooperation Promotion Division, DEQP of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said that “The Department of Climate Change and Environment has created a comprehensive strategy plan to advance environmental education covering all aspects within and outside the education system. In order to foster environmental citizenship as a means of managing the local environment and natural resources,  Eco Schools or sustainable environmental education schools have been  implemented as a component of early environmental awareness and responsibility development. This aligns with the mission of Suntory Beverage and Food (Thailand) Company Limited, which  is committed to promoting the Mizuiku Water Conservation Project and is dedicated to spreading environmental awareness, particularly among young people, via water conservation and the restoration of natural resources. Students in the environmental education network and Eco School network have had the chance to take part in the third year of the Mizuiku Water Conservation Project, which has had a significant influence on the young people in terms of expanding their understanding of ecosystems, water resources, and water management within the specific context of each area. Furthermore, competencies such as data collection, critical thinking, teamwork, experimentation, environmental quality monitoring (water-soil), and the capacity to create short films for public relations have been successfully developed whereby the youth acquire information via hands-on experience. They can then use what they've learned to help schools with water conservation projects when they return to school. Additionally, they will be role models for youngsters, leading the way in supporting water conservation measures that encompass more aspects of the school and community.”

Mr. Omer Malik, Chief Executive Officer of Suntory Beverage & Food (Thailand) and Indochina Co., Ltd. said that “One of Suntory Beverage and Food missions is to be socially and environmentally responsible. We are dedicated to making a significant and long-lasting difference on both the environment and society. The Mizuiku Water Conservation Project is part of Suntory's "Growing for Good'' sustainable growth initiatives. Its goal is to educate young people about environmental education and restoration, as well as teaching the importance of water for ecosystems and life. In 2023, the Mizuiku Water Conservation Project has now been running continuously for the past three years with the primary goals being to encourage teachers to spread awareness among young people and to develop water-saving activities to conserve water resources. This will establish a learning process that encourages and develops students to become responsible citizens and recognise issues related to local development and environmental protection, giving them a broad perspective and the ability to devise solutions to preserve the water resources in their hometown. It is our mission to support the growth of environmental citizens, promote social responsibility and the preservation of water in the future.”

Alexander Simon Rendell, Managing Director of ECC said that “The Ecc concentrates on working with local youth organisations to solve environmental and ecological issues around the area. In the past three years, the Mizuiku Water Conservation Project has worked to build a water-related learning process that is connected to every rural region. In order to help them understand how their livelihoods are affected upstream, midstream, downstream, and by the sea, and furthermore, to encourage youth society's awareness of environmental issues on a national level. In addition, power and complete support have been produced by the integration of public and private sectors. This year's initiative, in my opinion, has the potential to create a worthwhile learning experience and enhance young people's understanding of water through the use of natural classroom settings,

and I hope that these young people will go on to become future environmental-change leaders.”

Teachers who have participated in the project, beginning with Winus Wareekul, also known as Teacher Wid, from Ban Ko Cham School, Nuea Khlong District of Krabi Province, said that “The sea envelops our school. The issue of discarding trash into the ocean affects both mangrove ecosystems and our beaches. My involvement in this initiative has opened my eyes to the significance of trash management and how significant water conservation is in our day-to-day lives. The kids that participated in this water conservation camp learned a lot from this project, and I believe they will tell their friends and family about it.”

Sirinthip Phetnongchum, also known as Teacher Ple, from Ao Luek Prachasan School, Ao Luek District in Krabi Province said that “This project is excellent. I want to express my gratitude to Suntory Beverage and Food Company for setting up this camp. This is my students' first chance to engage in extracurricular activities and study outside of the classroom. Above all, the students learned from real-life experiences and had an amazing time. They now have an even deeper awareness and regard for the resources in their hometown as a result of attending our water conservation camp. In addition, I have also learned a lot and developed great attitudes that I may use to instruct the children in the future.”

Sukrit Inbua, also known as Nick, a grade 5 student at Ban Ko Cham School, Nuea Khlong District, Krabi who participated in the water conservation camp in Krabi Province, shared his opinion saying "I liked diving the most. Moreover, sharks aren't nearly as scary as people think. In films, sharks are made out to be dangerous, but when we spotted sharks as we dove down, they showed us who they really are. They also keep the balance of the sea, so we need to help care for them so that they don't go extinct. When I get back, I’m going to tell my friends and ask them to help out by not throwing rubbish into the ocean.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Pariyawit Robkob or Koko, a Mathayom 1 student from Ao Luek Prachasan School, Krabi, said, “I've learned a lot of practical information about water and resource conservation from this camp. Before, I knew nothing at all about any of these issues. Take sharks, for example, I had no idea they were so important to the ecosystem. It's not like studying in the classroom because in class, I learn things, remember them, and then I forget them, but this camp provided me with the chance to study and experience things which I’m sure I will never forget, and with the lessons I’ve learned, I will put them into action in the future.”

Throughout the three-day Water Conservation Camp in Krabi, students and teachers who participated in the project learned how to conserve water resources and the environment in a natural classroom. Also, they brainstormed throughout the Mizuiku workshops to come up with ideas for maintaining the waterways in their community. Moreover, they also enjoyed snorkelling and learning about the lifestyle of sharks, the animal that maintains the equilibrium of the sea at the Marine Learning Centre. Before wrapping up the activity, a summary was given of the learning outcomes based on their exposure to nature and the environment through real experiences, which showcased the collaborative effort that the teachers and students had done.

The water conservation project "Mizuiku" has scheduled a three-year long project operation, with the first year, 2023, serving as the catalyst for ideas related to water and the environment. Then, in 2024, the focus will be on raising awareness by increasing the number of people involved. Lastly, the goal is then to include a learning model into the Environmental Studies for Sustainable Development, or Eco-School curriculum by 2025. This is to provide the groundwork for a global exchange of environmental and water-related information to develop environmentally conscious community members who can effectively apply what they have learned to their own community.