Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Smoking to be Banned on All Beaches

Smoking to be Banned on All Beaches

It begins next month and, if successful, will be uniformly adopted across all of Thailand's beaches.

Thailand's Thai language daily, Thai Rath, broke the story saying Hua Hin's city authorities would introduce a THB2,000 fine on beach goers who throw their cigarette butts on the seashore.

The move follows a recent survey of litter on Patong beach, Phuket - visited by millions of foreign tourists each year - which found an average of 0.76 cigarette butts per square metre in a sample area, which would amount to 101,058 butts on the 2.5km-long stretch of sand. At the same time near the coastal areas will be equipped with special areas for Smoking.

The Department made a decision to take action after the Andaman Coastal Resources Research and Development Centre recently found between 63,000 and 138,000 cigarette butts on a 2.5-kilometre stretch of Patong Beach.

"Cigarette butts accounted for 30 per cent of the waste found", said Jatuporn Buruspat, the department's director general.

Thailand is all set to ban smoking in 20 popular beaches, which includes Phuket Islands, the hottest destination among the tourists.

Nabbing foreign tourists for throwing away cigarette buts and littering streets in Bangkok’s tourist districts is a common sight
Nabbing foreign tourists for throwing away cigarette buts and littering streets in Bangkok’s tourist districts is a common sight

"The butts clog the drains contributing to floods".

Laws outlawing beach smoking will be anchored in marine park law, which means that illegal smoking could carry penalties as stiff as fines of THB100,000 (about US$3,000) or up to a year in jail.

"Mr. Poropat added that Smoking will be banned on beaches, but a little further on the coast will be designated for Smoking, in which smokers can put the rubbish in special containers".

The ban is due to come into force later this month as Phuket prepares to host an global conference on sea waste.

The ban is being trialled on 20 beaches in the provinces of Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Songkhla, including Koh Samui and Pattaya, according to the Bangkok Post. Mr Buruspat said Thailand had the sixth most littered beaches in the world.

After a trial period, the ban is expected to be enforced on all Thai beaches, as well as on passenger and tourist boats, to tackle the problem of butts damaging the underwater environment.

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