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Paradise polluted: Racha island, a Phuket gem, is being ruined

Greed, Buried Trash 'Killing Island Gem'

Monday, May 28, 2012
PHUKET: Racha Island, a popular diving and holiday spot off Phuket, is degrading fast because of buried garbage, bad water and lack of care by profit-taking resorts, a meeting heard today.

Racha, once a Phuket gem with brilliant white sand and quality coral reefs, had deteriorated rapidly because all eight resorts were now only interested in making money, the gathering heard.

Sand from a beach on Racha was being dug up to construct a ninth resort illegally while ''mafia'' were trying to prevent an existing illegal resort from being demolished, the meeting on Phuket heard.

All resorts on Racha had been invited to send representatives to the meeting, Vice Governor Dr Sommai Preechasin heard. None had bothered to attend.

Suta Prateep Na Talang, representing local residents and fishermen, said the largest of the resorts on Racha were the Racha, the Baan Raya, and the Rachaburi. Hotels on the island were now all burying their trash so that coconut trees were beginning to die and a bad water problem was already evident.

Resorts had declined to pay to fund a system that ground bottles to fine particles and the water treatment system on Racha was old and no longer capable of cleaning the water.

The coral reefs around Racha were close to the coast and faced environmental degradation, Khun Suta said.

''Most people on the island don't care,'' he said. ''Yet if we don't start enforcing the law, everything will be gone.''

He suggested an immediate investigation into damage to public beaches and coral reefs by Marine Office 5, which is responsible for protecting the beaches and reefs.

The coral bleaching phenomenon had affected Racha's reefs two years ago and the reefs were now ''ok'' but in need of more time. Yet where once there had just been day-trippers to snorkel and dive, now dive companies were also training divers there, said Paitoon Pachaiyabhum, of the Phuket Marine Biology Centre.

Dr Sommai told the gathering, at Rawai council offices, that the meeting should reconvene in July - and she wanted the Racha resort owners to be there next time.

Comments

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I have written off Racha as a casualty of greed long ago after repeatedly seeing construction barges parked directly on top of (and killing) large sections of hard coral, snorkle operators allowing tourists to stand on coral, and bays full of floating brown fecal matter. It is incredibly depressing. No stewardship whatsoever.

Posted by Joe on May 28, 2012 13:45

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Not surprising and more so, no one cares, I've seen this everywhere in Thailand.

Posted by CNN TRAVELLER on May 28, 2012 13:58

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I don't see a problem here. Racha needs only to follow the example of other Thai resorts and re-focus its marketing efforts on those who wouldn't know the difference between dead coral fringed by littered beaches and half dead coco palms and the pristine article. Problem solved.

I suggest TAT sends a delegation to Mumbai and Tehran immediately to keep the numbers up.

Posted by barry on May 29, 2012 01:21

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Well put, CNN TRAVELLER!
I totally agree with you.
To barry: probably you misunderstood place!

Posted by Coralie on May 29, 2012 08:55

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''Yet if we don't start enforcing the law, everything will be gone.''
Amazing Thailand!

Posted by ??? on May 29, 2012 11:20

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Schools should be mobilised and whole classes should be sent to clean up areas. Teach then young. The only clean beaches I have seen are the Navy Beaches in Sattahip. These are beaches used by 99% Thais and they throw their garbage all about. When the park closes in the evening teams of sailors are sent in to clean it up.

Posted by Capealava on May 29, 2012 12:39

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@Capealava
why should it be the responsibility of school children to pick up waste generated by profit making resorts?
as for the example of the 'navy' beaches - whilst it is good that the sailors are dispatched to tidy up - it would be more effective if people simply took their litter with them when they left the beach.
whilst education is the key- the forced labour of schoolchildren is not the answer!!

Posted by another steve on May 29, 2012 14:36

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I do not appreciate the editor--editing my posts. You take things out of context and bend it to your own desires. As usual you meddle to much

Posted by Capealava on May 30, 2012 10:03

Editor Comment:

Your comments will continue to be edited to remove foolish and bigoted generalisations that aren't true. I don't have any particular desires, except not to have our readers misinformed by you and others.

What was cut: ''As noted this behavior has taken place all over Thailand. If anything it shows the lack of real government in Thailand. The police, the politician, government workers, ect and seem to be a facade. Garbage fills all the beaches and tourist areas. You never see a Thai person pick up any garbage. They do not realize that they are fouling their own livelihood.

'' I have told that to many of them right to their face. They just shrug. In contrast I have seen tourists of many nationalities cleaning the beaches in Thailand, pick up the plastic bags and even used baby diapers. The Thais just watch and do not help. Thailand can smile all they want, but soon the smiles will be covered in garbage.''

This is, appropriately enough, total rubbish, Capealava. But as you wish me to publish it . . . As in all countries, there are Thais who understand, and others who don't. I've seen Thais picking up garbage - often. And there are whole villages and cities where littering doesn't happen. Open your eyes, Capealava. You might find being fair and reasonable a pleasant change. But best open your mind first.

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Yu just don't get do you. You in fact calling me a lier. It is well know fact concerning Thailand???s enforcement malfunctions. It is not something I just made up out of the air. You are negating my 12 years of living here and what I have seen. You run the comments like a Nazi. You have such a high opinion of your opinions that you have lost any real function as a editor. I go to your website to see odd local news which you supply well. I will continue to post as I wish and I sure you will change it to meet your Views not the views of the readers. As you notice because of your meddling another poster rallies on me about Child labor. In the USA classes our taught ???Hands on????? yes they go out and clean up beaches. They are taught young to respect their environment.

Posted by Capealava on May 31, 2012 18:11

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Sorry ED, but I totally agree with Capealava. I spent in Phuket 8 year and I drove more than 120.000 km with my motorbike. Nearly every week I can see Thais driving throw away anything have in their hand: garbage, plastic glass, plastic bag, sigarettes and boxes ect and may times I discussed with them. But the worse is that in many cases the baby gives the garbage to the parents that like it should be normal launches it straight to the jungle..

Posted by Dave on June 5, 2012 10:53

Editor Comment:

As blinkered doomsayers, you are Capealava both see what you want to see, Dave. Having convinced yourselves that there are no Thais who dispose of waste correctly, that's all you ever manage to see. The truth is quite different. You will find it refreshing . . . but it's good news, and that makes it hard to accept. Keep trying.


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