For his efforts, Dr Thon has been given charge of the marine park. Interestingly, his team has collected 34 million baht in park fees in November when the previous inept administrators managed to collect just 24 million baht for an entire year.
As greed drives non-sustainable policies, Phuket is also being subjected to moral and environmental degradation. But on Phi Phi, the clash of cultures - the selfish versus the caring - is much more obvious.
Placing signs at popular places for tourists, including iconic Maya Beach, is part of Dr Thon's latest effort to turn the tide of tourists along the Andaman coast into caring, sharing visitors who understand that the beauty of the coral reefs will be destroyed unless habits change quickly.
Dr Thon has taken to signing his own postcards in an effort to supplement his personal spending to save Phi Phi for future generations.
With nearly two million tourists a year now descending on the islands via Phuket or the Krabi mainland, Dr Thon has spent weeks persuading local authorities to become more diligent and to absorb the need to prevent speedboats dragging anchors over coral or tourists souveniring chunks of it.
It appears unlikely that the previous administrators, who failed to do their jobs and instead lined their pockets, will ever be called to account.
As with human trafficking, crimes committed by Thais in uniform while ''serving their country'' - and actually serving themselves - appear likely to be quietly forgotten, in the national interest.
Dr Thon follows previous winners of the award: the protesters who opposed the establishment of a dolphinarium on the holiday island; the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project; the Phuket Marine Biological Centre and the people who redesigned the old Sarasin Bridge, linking Phuket and Phang Nga into a walking and viewing point, making good use of the green maxim: Reuse, Recycle, Reduce.