Smoking ban implemented as garbage piles up

Quick news for the day for my current nomadic location.

Authorities started imposing a smoking ban on 24 beaches in 15 provinces as a academic put the fault for mounting beach and sea pollution on ‘all Thais’. 

Environmentalist and deputy dean of the Faculty of Fisheries at Kasetsart University, Thon Thamrongnawasawat, warns the garbage is overwhelming the seas.

The smoking ban covers beaches in Hua Hin, Phuket and sandy stretches of two islands that are huge international tourist draws: Koh Tao and Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. 

Smoking ban

The ban carries a maximum punishment of one year in jail and/or a fine of up to 100,000 baht yet punishments won’t be distributed to violators amid a 90-day grace period, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said.

However, smoking will never again be allowed at the 24 beaches, which represent the start of a pilot programmed is expected that would be rolled out nationwide later if successful. 

Included so far are Chalok Ban Kao, Koh Tao’s third-longest beach, and Bor Pud beach on Koh Samui’s northeastern peninsula near the island’s airport. 

The two islands belong to Surat Thani area. Koh Tao is a well known spot for divers looking for elusive whale sharks. 

Koh Samui’s most prominent beaches among decadent partygoers – Chaweng and Lamai – seem to have gotten away from the ban for now, as has Haad Rin beach on neighboring Koh Phangan, home of Thailand’s acclaimed full-moon parties. Patong beach in Phuket, in the Andaman Sea, also falls under the ban, as do a smattering of beaches close-by. 

They include those on the two satellite islands of Koh Kai Nai and Koh Kai Nok; Khao Lak on the mainland north of Phuket in Phangnga; and three beaches – Phra Ae, Klong Dao and Kor Kwang – in the resort town of Krabi, a central hub for rock climbers and backpackers because of its striking limestone karsts.

The ministry said it expects to set up smoking zones on each of the beaches in the near future. Some, as Chalok Ban Kao and Bophut, already have these set up. Other beaches facing the ban include those in Bang Saen and Dong Tarn in Chon Buri, southeast of Bangkok; and some beaches in Hua Hin – where the Thai royal family possesses summer retreats – and Khao Takieb in Prachuap Khiri Khan. 

The ministry, which has for months complained about litter and particularly cigarette butts polluting beaches and threatening local marine life, said hotels that set up deck seats for visitors must remove ashtrays. 

The law likewise prohibits individuals from leaving trash or releasing untreated water on the listed beaches. 

The new restrictions come after state and private agencies signed an agreement to battle dangers to the country’s coastal resources. 

What’s more, those resources are heavy pressure.

More than 100 tons of garbage washed up along the coastline in Pran Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan region.

Mr Thon said all Thais were in responsible of what happened as everybody shares a responsibility regarding discarding their waste sensibly. He said some garbage was already in the Gulf of Thailand, a few was in the shallow parts alongside shores, and the other trash originated from freshwater resources, for example, rivers that flow into the Gulf. 

“Incidents like these portray us in a terrible light, as we are already notorious for consuming large amounts of plastic waste,” he said.

He blamed all Thais as responsible  of what occurred as everybody shares a collective obligation regarding discarding their waste sensibly. He said some junk was at that point in the Gulf of Thailand, a few was in the shallow parts alongside shores, and the other trash originated from freshwater resources, for example, rivers that flow into the Gulf. 

Garbage in the sea can injure or even kill animals such as sea turtles and dolphins, he wrote on Facebook. He requested that Thais help save nature by restricting the use of plastic bags and by discarding waste responsibly. 

The garbage washed up alone a 1.5km stretch of the Pran Buri Park’s coast, in Prachuap Khiri Khan. Changing water streams in the Gulf of Thailand brought the waste inshore, he said. 

He said the garbage floating in the Gulf had collected after being swept there by the current, which was going the Pran Buri coast’s way. Pran Buri, a tourist site for those travelling to Prachuap Khiri Kan, is 30km south of Hua Hin.

Pran Buri Park chief Somsak Krithathorn said park staffs are attempting to clean up the shore. Typically it would take around three days, however for this situation was probably going to take longer, since garbage was still being washed up along the coast, he added. Source - Top up your mobile phones thru Top Up True Move H

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