Why is the once-beautiful gem now an environmental nightmare? How is it that the people who make money from its beauty have decided to let it be destroyed in the process?
As Phuketwan's photojournalist on the spot, I am reporting LIVE from Racha off Phuket as a team of Phuket administrators assesses first-hand the scale of the issues facing the future of Racha . . . and Phuket.
10.10am We are now at the Racha Resort, the best-known five-star resort on the island, where the water system is being closely checked by Phuket Vice Governor Dr Sommai Preechasin, the Chief of Phuket's Marine Office 5, Phuripat Theerakulpisut, and others in the party. The resort's owners is among the group.
10.40am The Racha has a water treatment system . . . the Baan Raya does not. Fat is excluded, but the rest? That just flows into a pond, out the back. How can people in an environmentally sensitive place imagine that this is going to work? How come there is no enforcement of regulations? Why is Phuket's tourism future being undermined by the greedy and the selfish? You have two seconds to answer.
10.56am On to the Rayaburi . . . a prime example, acording to experts, of how not to construct a resort in a sensitive natural environment. Here, concrete blocks have been dug into the beach so the buildings can be expanded. The perpetrators do not seem to mind that the beach belongs to the public, that is, all Thai people. They've just done what they pleased. Nobody tried to stop them.
11.45am A meeting on Racha hears that about 800 day-trippers come to the island each day, leaving behind trash of 1.5 kilos per individual. About one tonne of garbage per day has to be disposed of on Racha.