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Phuket Warned of Dire Future if Garbage, Pollution, Development  Cannot be Controlled

Phuket Warned of Dire Future if Garbage, Pollution, Development Cannot be Controlled

Tuesday, November 6, 2012
PHUKET: Phuket needs a 10-year or 20-year strategy to stave off environmental degradation from garbage, bad water and over-development, a leading city planner warns.

Dr Jamnern Woraratchaiphan told mayors and town planners that Phuket could have as little as five years before worsening pollution triggered irreversible damage.

Dr Jamnern of Brace - Building Climate-Resilient Asian Cities - gave his warning at a meeting at Phuket City council offices yesterday.

''About 1995, Phuket began trying to cope with growing numbers of tourists,'' he said. ''In 2005, after the tsunami, growth really accellerated and by 2009, problems with overly rapid development began to emerge.''

Garbage, bad water and unplanned development could not be dealt with unless there was a cohesive strategy involving every aspect of Phuket, across government and private fields, he said.

''Polluted water is allowed to flow into canals and into the sea,'' he said. ''Inevitably, this means tourists will contract skin complaints and infections.

''The forests are being cleared for resorts or condos, or rubber plantations. But water can't find its way through a 'concrete forest,' so Phuket inevitably has flooding and landslips.''

With growth now at five or six percent a year, Dr Jamnern gave Phuket just five more years before the problems would prove insurmountable.

''Chaotic, uncontrolled development without a plan means that Phuket's carrying capacity will be exceeded.

''Infrastructure is already behind and if it sinks further behind, Phuket will not remain an attractive place to visit.''

He said the local culture was also threatened as ''international culture'' took a hold.

''Knowledge has to be passed on to children at schools and the local councils have to support Phuket culture in every possible way,'' he said.

A long-term strategy to make sure there were green public spaces was the only option. Phuket needed decisions made on the island.

The more self-reliant Phuket could become, the better the outcome was likely to be, he said.

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The infrastructure has been neglected and is crumbling at about the same rate as the increase in private assets of many Phuket officials. If the same enthusiasm was put into public works that is put into building resorts and beach clubs, Phuket wouldn't have the mounting problems that it has. This won't happen as it would require certain selfish people to think of the public's best interests instead of their own greedy agenda. When one thinks of the billions of baht brought in by tourists to Phuket every year, you can't help but be disgusted by the state of the roads and the piles of rubbish everywhere.

Posted by logbags on November 6, 2012 13:22

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Phuket is a prime example of what happens when greed and corruption are allowed to reign free.

Surely there are places far worse off but none of them attract so much international interest and attention as Phuket does.

Posted by Andrew on November 6, 2012 14:21


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