According to newspapers, smoking is due to be banned at 20 popular tourist beaches in Thailand. According to the Chief of Marine and Coastal Resources, too many beaches in Thailand are littered by cigarette butts, a rather unhealthy habit. The move comes ahead of an international conference on sea waste in Phuket later this month, Thai media reported.
As an exemplae, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources’ Phuket Marine Biological Centre made a study along 2.5 km of Patong Beach in Phuket. On just 9 m2 of one of Phuket’s most famed beach, authorities collected on average 0.76 butts per square metre. This would translate into 101,058 butts along the entire beach. The discarded butts made up about one-third of all the rubbish collected, accorded to newspapers.
The horrendous number is confirmed by Department director-general Jatuporn Buruspat who said that estimation put at over 100 million cigarette butts left on Thailand roads of cities every single day. This also adds to drain clogging due to rubbish.
He said to the Bangkok Post that Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Songkhla provinces had agreed to jointly invoke Section 17 of the 2015 law on marine and beach resources management as a trial measure and ban smoking at 20 beaches from next month.
These beaches are well-known among travellers and include Mae Phim in Rayong; Laem Sing in Chanthaburi; Bang Saen, Pattaya and Tham Pang on Koh Si Chang in Chon Buri; Cha-am in Phetchaburi; Hua Hin and Khao Takiap in Prachuap Khiri Khan; Patong in Phuket; Bo Phut on Koh Samui in Surat Thani; Sai Ri in Chumphon; Chalatas in Songkhla; Tha Wa Sukri in Pattani; Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nai on Koh Yao in Phangnga; and Phra Ae and Khlong Dao on Koh Lanta in Krabi.
The other beaches will also be included into the ban at a later point. “Smokers will be required to drop their cigarette butts in provided containers before they enter these beaches…No more lighting up while strolling along the beach because that is most likely to end up with a huge number of cigarette butts being dropped on the beaches,” Mr Jatuporn said.
The ones who would not apply the law will face a maximum penalty of a year in prison and/or a fine of 100,000 baht.
His department is also considering measures to curb a related problem – cigarette butts being dropped into the sea from the boats.
Thailand has been judged to have the sixth most rubbish-strewn sea in the world, a problem which needs to be tackled with proper legal measures, he said.
(Source: Bangkok Post)