Why You Should NEVER Use A Printed Map or Guide While On Phu Quoc Island

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It’s no surprise that our comprehensive online travel and tourism guide on Phu Quoc is a hit. PhuQuocIslandGuide.com is the most popular website about Vietnam’s largest island and we are also recognized as a thought leader about all things “Phu Quoc”. As such the local government, Vietnamese and Expat owned businesses, travel agencies, hotels and resorts, as well as tourists have repeatedly asked us to create a print version of our online guides and maps because the existing ones found on the island are biased, inundated with advertisements, and do not do Phu Quoc justice.

The reason why we are against printed material is that it has a huge negative impact on the environment (see below). Once the end user has finished reading a printed map, guide, tour schedule, flyer etc., it is then tossed into the garbage or into the environment. Currently Phu Quoc does not have a recycling facility and most of the islands garbage is burned or illegally dumped.

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Take a look at any printed material found on the island and carefully examine it and you will note that there is no mention of the environmentally friendliness of it. Chances are that the printed material you are holding was created using:

  • Paper that is not Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified;
  • The use of toxic non-vegetable based ink;
  • Processed using environmentally harmful bleach and chlorine agents;
  • Manufactured with electricity that has not been offset with certified renewable energy certificates;
  • Etc…
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Print Media’s Impact On Phu Quoc’s Environment And Why It Matters

It is estimated that 90% of paper in South East Asia is “virgin”, meaning it does not contain any recycled fiber. Manufacturing, using and disposing of this much virgin paper consumes large amounts of wood, energy and water, and generates significant air pollution, which is something Vietnam does not need more of. Also the majority of printing companies in Vietnam still operate outdated print presses that use toxic chemicals and consume over 25,000 gallons of water per month. That's enough to fill an Olympic size swimming pool! And finally there is the ink. The ink that is used is also toxic. Standard printer ink has petroleum in it, which produces volatile organic compounds, or VOC’s. VOC’s are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids and can cause short and long-term health problems. Printers produce VOC’s as well, further increasing the amount of VOCs in the environment.

HANDS OFF! Put that printed Phu Quoc map and guidebook down!

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By using print media on Phu Quoc (or supporting it as a business) you are promoting its use and thus contributing to the degradation of the environment, destruction of forests and fragile ecosystems, and encouraging the use of non-renewable resources. You are also contributing to the growing trash problem on Phu Quoc as most print media ends up in the river, ocean, beach, or forest. According to Nguyen Van Ngoc, head of Phu Quoc Public Works Management Board, the amount of waste discharged on Phu Quoc has surged from 50 metric tons a day in 2010 to 190 tons in 2015. In a digital age where everyone owns a smartphone, tablet, or both print version of maps and guidebooks are no longer necessary. Wifi is widely available throughout the island and it is surprisingly fast.

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What Can You Do To Help?

As a Tourist:

For starters, stop using all forms of print media found on Phu Quoc. If you need tourism information or local maps you can visit our website as we have everything there is to know about the islands. You can also ask a local, your hotel staff, or an expat for additional information and tips as they are all quite friendly for the most part and are usually willing to help out. If you are planning on motor-biking around the island, download these Phu Quoc Maps for offline use.

As a business operating on Phu Quoc:

Stop supporting print media and go paperless. Going paperless can help make your business more environmentally-friendly. It means reducing paper use as much as possible and not advertising your business in printed mediums such as newspaper, maps, and guides. In addition to saving paper, going paperless helps your organization spend less money and improve your bottom line. If you want to promote your business to a large targeted audience and be environmentally conscious at the same time, then please contact us.

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In summary, the procurement, processing, distribution, and use of print media is destructive to both the local and global environment and to you as a citizen of the world. From what we wrote above, you now know why you will not see a printed version of the popular PhuQuocIslandGuide.com travel guide on or off Phu Quoc Island.


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