Phu Quoc Island is famous for its sun, sand, and sea, but tourism struggles with visible plastic pollution. The colorful plastic waste disrupts tourists’ imaginaries of a pristine, tropical paradise. To counter the threat of image loss, local authorities and the tourism industry create both materially and symbolically ‘clean’ places that fulfil the scenery tourists seek. Drawing on my human geography background, I frame this making, maintaining, and manipulation of attractive environmental features as place-making practices. Yet, the creation of an appealing environment makes it necessary to find places to store the immense amounts of waste. I understand these places as ‘places behind the scene,’ referring to Goffman’s theatre metaphor of front- and backstage settings. The paper illuminates how waste-tourism entanglements foster the creation of front- and backstage places, which ultimately lead to an increasing socio-spatial fragmentation of the island.

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