UCA News


From plastic bottles to monks' robes

A Thai Buddhist monastery is leading a recycling drive to clean up the environment

Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
From plastic bottles to monks' robes

Phra Maha Pranom Dhammalangkaro, the abbot of a Buddhist monastery in Samut Prakan province, near Bangkok, stands by piles of waste brought for recycling to his temple. (Photo: Tibor Krausz) 

Share this article :
The Buddhist monastery of Wat Chak Daeng sprawls across scenic, leafy ground on a bank of the meandering Chao Phraya River.

Yet at first glance the temple in Samut Prakan province, near Bangkok, looks less like a place of worship than a recycling plant.

For starters, greeting visitors by the gate are growing mounds of discarded plastic bottles. Among the piles of plastic waste, local volunteers busy themselves sorting a variety of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles into neat piles. Nearby, a man is operating a machine that crushes colorless water bottles so that they can be packed into big blocks.

“I come here every day,” says Parichart Seajeng, a heavyset middle-aged housewife who removes caps from drinks bottles and pours leftover liquids from them into a bucket. “My kids are grown and I have nothing much to do at home. I can be of use here.”

Click here to read the full article

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
Support UCA News

William J. Grimm, MM


Union of Catholic Asian News

"As Pope Francis has said, we live not so much in an era of change as in a change of era. That is especially true in Asia and for the churches of Asia. UCA News is the dedicated, Asia-wide news and information service for the Church in Asia and we need your help to maintain the service."