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Most Phuket people wouldn't recall this Kata-Karon village

Phuket's Sea Waste Crisis: 'Resorts Will be Closed'

Monday, April 11, 2011
PHUKET has been plunged into full media damage control over a European television show that claims resorts in Kata-Karon allow water containing faecal material to flow into the sea where children and tourists swim.

Today's warning that the damaging ''Wir Retten Ihren Urlaub!'' (We Save Your Holiday!) will air next month follows the launch at the weekend of the Kata-Karon ''Heaven on Earth'' publicity campaign in which out-of-date and airbrushed photos are used to promote Phuket's attractions.

The differing perspectives throw harsh light on the way some Phuket authorities wish to project Phuket and the reality of lack of controls over waste water pollution and other tourism turn-offs.

The day after Kata-Karon authorities emphasied the need to make their area secure and safe for tourists, a Karon taxi driver was charged with the rape of a young Swedish tourist.

Two days after Kata-Karon authorities emphasised the area's natural beauty, Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha was told that a German television show is about to report that five resorts pollute the Kata-Karon sea with waste water containing dangerous bacteria.

Launched on Saturday under the ''Heaven on Earth'' banner, the Kata-Karon project may be a good idea to try to reverse some of Phuket's growing problems.

But it has probably come too late to prevent a huge cost to Phuket tourism if the ''We Save Your Holiday!'' show is telecast across large parts of Europe from next month, as planned.

What will screen next on television in Europe, or in Australia? More on the frightening jet-ski scams? More on the blockades and the extortionate fares charged by local taxis and tuk-tuks? More on the greedy thugs who are taking over Phuket's beaches?

We're looking into the future - something that it's about time for Phuket authorities to do. Tolerance of corruption and greed and the mistakes of the past are catching up with Phuket now.

Today Governor Tri heard from German honorary consul Dirk Naumann that next month's 'We Save Your Holiday!' show will probably allege that five resorts dump their waste into water that flows into the sea at two of Phuket's best-loved beaches, Kata and Karon.

Mr Naumann said WSYH was the most popular tv travel show in Germany - and it would later be screened across Scandinavia, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

The CD passed to the Governor today showed tests of waste water from one resort were ''full of faecal material,'' Mr Naumann said. He said he had been told that the program would name the resort in the CD item and four other resorts - but added that the new beachfront Centara Grand at Karon was not one of them.

''This is going to be damaging for Phuket,'' Mr Naumann said. ''I know from past experience this will be very, very unfair. I suggest you develop a plan.''

Mr Naumann said a similar report on a Turkish destination was followed up six months, 12 months and two years later, when the program reported that it was now safe for German tourists to return.

All Phuket residents know that waste water is just one of the problems facing Phuket. Yet Saturday's ''Heaven on Earth'' campaign in Kata-Karon - the same region that is about to be criticised on European television - highlighted the good, while admitting only to minor flaws.

As well as opting to build a large and controversial public Karon beach swimming pool - but only for those who are ''registered'' - the campaign organisers on Saturday gave away the first of a million postcards and t-shirts for the media.

The postcards of Kata and Karon beaches show no beach lounges and have either been airbrushed or taken many years ago. Projected scenes for Saturday's audience showed the Kata-Karon area when there were simple thatch villages and rice fields - not as it is in the 21st century.

The authorities did admit there was a lot of work to do. The positive campaign listed year-round beach cleaning; protection of the few remaining mangrove regions; zoning for billboards; turtle releases and coral reef recovery; more zebra crossings; walking streets; welcome arches; Karon-Kata promotion on YouTube; Better knowledge for beach vendors and workers; and lastly, send the tourists home safely.

The final item is worth mentioning because Karon is Phuket's most dangerous beach, especially between April and December. The extortionate fares demanded by taxi and tuk-tuk drivers and the scams by Phuket's jet-ski operators were not mentioned.

In response to news of the coming television show, Governor Tri said today that he would look into what could be done and set up a special committee, seeking regular two-monthly updates on the quality of waste water.

Any resort that breached standards would be closed down, he said.
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Garbage Buried on Phuket Beach: Shock Video
PHOTO UPDATE A tourist who ''loves Phuket'' has posted video footage online that shows a large amount of garbage being buried by a backhoe and two men at Phuket's secluded Layan beach.
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The Rape of Phuket That Everyone Gets to Watch
News Analysis Phuket to be listed as a UN World heritage site for its natural beauty? You must be joking. The island's beaches are being raped by greedy people who only want a quick profit.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Ahh yes. The old 'set up a committee' solution. That way he will be rotated out of the region by the time anyone remembers it again.

Of course hotels couldn't be closed or punished, until they set their house in order, not given the clout of the owners.

Posted by LivinLOS on April 11, 2011 12:08


I really look forward to this program. The shaming of Phuket is finally hitting the main stream and I for one, hope it continues until Phuket can really be a "paradise island" because right not, it is not.

Well Done, "We Save Your Holiday".

I await with baited breath on the response from these resorts/people in charge.

Posted by Tbs on April 11, 2011 12:17


It is about time that the Phuket Local Authorities, wake up to the fact that the average tourist now goes online to check out holiday destinations.
Phuket comes out in a very bad light, in view of all the "Bad" things that have emerged on the internet.(List too long to mention, just read PW and PG to know the answers)?
I fear the time is too late to stop the rot, but it will start to bring back the Phuket of 20 -30 years ago, that the tourists loved so much, with modern evils.
Now how do we all stop the pollution of our beaches and seas, heads together now?
Let's find a way now.
If we can't find a way, let's make a way.
Now may be too late?

Posted by Graham on April 11, 2011 12:32


It's a sad, but important truth - after years of neglect, the tourists and watch-dog groups need to take matters into their own hands to get the word out. The local authorities that be, have only themselves to blame. Citing, but not following up on basic health hazards is inexcusable.

Posted by peter rawai on April 11, 2011 12:39


Local authorities including police do not want to go against local people or influential people as they elect by them or get financial support to win election.
We see the saga with touts, tuk-tuks, jet-ski operators, beach-chair operators, motorcycle & car rentals, illegal fishing in coastal areas, and so on...
ONLY the Phuket Governor who is nominate by the Central Government may be able to plan changes but so far since many years none of them have the b... to do it.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on April 11, 2011 12:53


Sadly the local people who run Kata Karon Rawai are elected and have no idea how to run a small town.
Nothing will ever change until the water round these beaches is brown and filthy. paradise lost to greed and stupidity of the few.

Posted by lord Jim on April 11, 2011 13:37


The ads are not lying. Only a mishap with the date or place. Either 20 years ago or now only in Krabi. Its the marketing people, the mad men.

More up to date would be "beaches and peaches" as Patong is nearby...

Posted by Another Steve on April 11, 2011 14:01


Any resort that breached standards would be closed down, he said

I cannot think that there will be many resorts left open then...

Posted by Simon Luttrell on April 11, 2011 14:16


What a quaint picture! I think the new Kata-Karon motto should be: 'We cling to the past, while ignoring the present ... and destroying the future!'

Posted by Lana on April 11, 2011 14:46


[quote]Any resort that breached standards would be closed down, he said.[/quote]

And who will set the standards?
And how much will it take to make the problem go away?

Posted by Mike Boyd on April 11, 2011 14:54


not only the beaches ,condominiums etc built so close to the sea, even the 'traditional' way of allowing effluent overflow to filter into the soil.puts the sea in danger. On viset road towards rawi shop house bars near the makret discharge over flow into the road side,the smell is ripe with blocked drains, there is a sea of green slime . I suppose its all our fault, we who know better should help the environment, rather than following the local way, once there were klongs and water courses now ?? filled in and allowed to drain into the sea.

Posted by arthur riley on April 11, 2011 15:13


Have to agree with LivinLOS... just another useless group of people achieving nothing more than empty promises.

Greed and corruption is always going to end badly for Phuket and its tourist industry. This is the result in blatant disregard to both the environment and tourist needs.

Reap what you sow!

Posted by Graham on April 11, 2011 18:21


When I built my small Phuket hotel some 5 years ago, it was mandatory that I provided on-site waste treatment, so that no waste was discharged in any form from my land, with soakaways and dry wells for 'liquids', septic tanks for 'solids', and grease trap tanks for soap and grease.

So, if my little hotel is able to adhere to the rules and environmental considerations, why can't the hotels and businesses in Kata-Karon do likewise?

Don't answer that question! I can guess the correct answer already.

Posted by Simon Luttrell on April 11, 2011 18:59


i'm surprised at the editor for allowing someone else to use my moniker to post here !!

Posted by another steve on April 11, 2011 19:57

Editor Comment:

You're 'another steve.' He is 'Another Steve.'


Arthur, I know what you are saying but as soon as 'we who know better' try to help. you get 'those who know everything' telling us 'if you do not like it here, go home'. Perhaps 'the powers that be' can 'clean up their act' and the beaches while they are at it. In the mean time, the prawns are getting bigger from the effluent ;o)

Posted by Phuket Kop on April 11, 2011 20:06


I told many times that Phuket will have what will deserve.. but soon, not next year.. the knots are already in the comb..

Posted by Dave on April 11, 2011 22:49


Kata-Karon?? And what about Patong, 64 times over the limit?? It's time that the authorities open their eyes.. This is really a very serious problem cause can involved everybody.. even the authorities themselves..

Posted by pop on April 11, 2011 23:07


Since three months the water coming from the well in Kata stinks. That's way many big hotel have to order the water by trucks. The result is this... but is only the head of the iceberg.. is already too late for solve the problem in less then 4 or 5 years if would be possible to stop the pollution tomorrow...

Posted by Richard on April 11, 2011 23:11


I am surprised that it has taken so long for this important issue to get the attention that it deserves. Ling Yai seems to be the only one saying anything publicly, but anyone who swims here knows the story. What passes for 'municipal management' is unable to do anything about it, except perhaps imposing more regulations on the small hotels as Mr. Luttrell outlined.

Posted by Treelover on April 12, 2011 07:49


It's not just Patong or Kata but the entire water around Phuket. Surin has stinking waste streaming in. Check out the not so impromtu land fill off about 300 meters from Layan Soi 2. Logo on the garbage gives it away. Those who respect the law are increasingly frustrated at the impudence of so many. Dig under the sand at Bang Tao and you will find pipe after blue pipe, I've seen them buried.

Posted by MediaWatcher on April 23, 2011 12:30


Let's cheer for the big boys ! they know the more they squeeze the higher the payoff. easy economics. the place ain't changing. it's the asian way. People survive on "the deal". it's now or never environment. take the payoff and keep moving. You've seen the best of Phuket. It's gone! Now it's the poor development of open space of Patong with poor roads and already over crowded spaces. where are the public parks ? Time to check around for another area, even Bali. In 5 years Phuket will be overwhelmed in garbage and human waste. The jungles torn out for more overcrowded housing and swamps filled in for more shopping. YUP, fabulous Phuket is hearsay. and all it takes is a bribe a day to keep the official at bay. ya love it.

Posted by mafioso on May 8, 2011 08:43

Thursday March 23, 2023
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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