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Bad water smelling of urine seeps through sand at a Phuket beach

Planet Phuket: Save the Beaches from Bad Water, Greed and Self-Interest

Sunday, July 31, 2011
Phuketwan Opinion

PHUKET: The photo above represents a prime example of the need for a comprehensive strategy now to save Phuket's beaches.

Yesterday at Koh Sireh - one of Phuket's least threatened spots - we came across this bad water being piped straight onto a beach . . . from a Thai cooking school.

The bad water smelled like urine. Just a few metres away, a naked infant was being dipped into the sea by a bigger sibling.

Another child was building sandcastles nearby.

At the Thai cooking school, soon after the bad water seeped through onto the sand, a class of students emerged onto the patio and sat at tables by the sea to enjoy the meals they had probably just prepared.

Did they know about the beach pollution? Probably not. They - and other tourists - need to know, before it's too late.

This week's plea to save Phuket's beaches by Wichit Na-Ranong owner of the Indigo Pearl at Nai Yang, south of Phuket International Airport, was timely.

It came with the release of new regulations, designed to protect Phuket's environment. Yet all we have seen is a nice blue ring around a new map of Phuket, where once there was blank space.

Who is going to protect Phuket's beaches and enforce existing laws?

WE KNOW that businesses are not supposed to encroach on the sand. Yet they do, with impunity - especially at Surin, once one of Phuket's best beaches, and now its worst example.

WE KNOW that bad water is not supposed to be piped onto the beaches. Yet the illegal pipes, from all reports, are increasing, not decreasing.

WE KNOW that the existing authorities are supposed to protect the beaches. Yet it is these authorities that allegedly take bribes and allow the beaches to be despoiled.

The view of Khun Wichit is that unless action is taken now, the destruction and misappropriation of Phuket's beaches will continue.

When Phuketwan visited a number of Phuket's best-known beaches in a survey earlier this year, we were surprised at the change for the worse.

This was especially true at Surin and at nearby Laem Singh, where restaurants, loud music, the spread of beach loungers, vendors and self-interest are speeding the destruction of Phuket's most precious natural attraction.

Jet-skis, parasailers and other motorised forms of ''water sport'' continue to ruin the Phuket beach experience for thousands of holidaymakers at Patong, Kamala and Kata.

There is nothing worse for people wanting to relax in or near the sea on a tropical island than having a jet-ski roar past, too close.

It was evident at Laem Sing, a small beach, that Phuket's natural beauty is no longer considered to have any value.

Leading Patong businessman Preechavude ''Dr Prab'' Keesin has already said that he would prefer to see tourists hiring towels rather than have Patong covered in beach loungers.

Earlier this year on pristine Layan beach, a Phuketwan reader's video caught officials burying bags of garbage in the sand. Another reader filmed rogue tourists riding ATVs along a beach in a Phuket national park.

Now Khun Wichit has said publicly what everyone was thinking: that Phuket's tourism industry is being destroyed by allowing the beaches to be privatised.

Tourists may enjoy a meal on the beach, but they need to understand that their illicit pleasure probably means that some of Phuket's best-loved beaches will be covered by loungers and restaurants before many more high seasons pass.

The people who should be enforcing the law look the other way - and probably get paid as much if not more to not do their job.

What Phuket now desperately needs is a single new coastal authority capable of protecting the beaches, empowered to enforce existing laws and to drive back the greedy commercial operators who seek to privatise Phuket's sands.

It's time for the Phuket Governor's advisers - and for people who really love Phuket - to speak out.

No more greedy encroachment. No more bad water. Save Phuket's beaches now.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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"It's time for the Phuket Governor's advisers - and for people who really love Phuket - to speak out".

You mean the Governor and his advisers are not doing their job? Many people, including myself have spoken out, either via your site or directly to Or Bor Tor people. Nothing ever gets done. Nothing will get done.

Posted by Pete on July 31, 2011 15:07

Editor Comment:

Perhaps you need to throw yourself on the bonnet of the governor's car, Pete . . . No, we are not laying blame for the state of the beaches on the Governor or his advisors, but making the point - as the article makes plain - that it's time they looked at the issue of a single authority to save the beaches.

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Too late, Too late, he cried in vain,
Oh what a pity,
Oh what a shame,
As money and greed left Phuket's beaches in pain.
Hey Ed, not a bad rhyme, but stealing the beaches is a serious crime.

Posted by Robin on July 31, 2011 15:35

Editor Comment:

You left out ''head in the sand,'' Robin. A good place to recite your poetry.

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They - and other tourists - need to know, before it's too late.

Before it's too late???...I think it already is.

Posted by sky on July 31, 2011 16:03

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Another thing which I noticed many times while sailing around in Ao Yon bay was that - The Tour Speed boats fuel tanks were being filled directly on the beach, fuel drums at a pick up on shore, a hose out to the boat and then just fill up...impossible not to spill - Also noticed that speed boat motors being cleaned and wash off directly in the bay.
All in all everyone, both Thai's and Farang should pay more attention to the environment.

Posted by Bjarne on July 31, 2011 17:17

Editor Comment:

Better call Marine Region 5, Bjarne. They will do their job and enforce the law, for sure.

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Thank you for a very good article that pinpoints some of the problems at Phuket beaches. The authorities that should have control of these matters should do something before greed ruins Phuket. Soon it will be to late.

As the article says, noise pollution from Jet Skis are actually also a part of the pollution problem. Some weeks ago I left Patong for a few days to stay in Karon, and it was like another world staying on the south end of the beach, quiet and no noise of roaring engines all day! Only Jet Ski in sight was used when a swimmer got rescued out of the water...

Posted by tdr on July 31, 2011 17:57

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hello everybody. my opinion is this is the result of low cost holidays destination. I am always wondering why such a Paradise, or what it used to be, had to be on sale? what is the point on having mass spending nearly nothing? wouldn't it be better have less tourists spending more? less tourists less restaurants less beach lounges less vendors less pollution less garbage...

Posted by Anonymous on August 1, 2011 21:46

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Come on all Phuketians, all Governing bodies, educators,schools, mums,dads, every child, tourists, Buddhists, journalists and anyone who has a grain of repect for the environmnet. It is sooo obvious what HAS to be done in Phuket for it to survive. Everyone wants, needs and deserves in the 21st century to be able to swim in the sea, walk along a beach, travel along a road, walk down the street, without seeing a sea of plastic, filth, rubbish of all shapes and sizes. CLEANLINESS AND CIVIC PRIDE!!!

Posted by Debra Kathu on March 8, 2012 20:55


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