Smokers will have to kick the butt. At least on the Thailand beaches!
The Thai government who desperately wanted to end the pollution problem and tackle the drain damage menace on Thai beaches, welcomed this ban.
20 of the country’s most popular tourist beaches have banned smoking. Those who are caught smoking will have to face an imprisonment for a year or a fine of maximum 100,000 baht (£2,285), or both.
A recent survey of litter was conducted on Patong beach of Phuket. The beach sees millions of tourists and foreign nationals every year. The results of the survey show that an average of 0.76 cigarette butts per square meter were found in the sample area. That amounts to 101,058 butts on a 2.5km stretch of beach sand.
Thailand’s Marine and Coastal resources department conducted the survey and expressed this to be a “serious problem”. The survey also showed that cigarette butts accounted for one-third of the litter collected by the department.
“Cigarettes have a direct effect on the natural environment,” said the director general Jatuporn Buruspat in an interview to the Phuket Gazette.
The researchers have found the cigarette butts clogging the drains which contribute to floods. The eco-system is also affected negatively when the cigarettes stay under beach sand for long. Cadmium, lead, arsenic and some acid from insecticide are released in the water when the cigarettes reach the water, hampering the natural food chain.
The ban will come to effect from November and will affect 20 beaches including Patong, Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nai (Phuket); Hua Hin, Cha-Am, Khao Takiab (western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan); Pattaya, Jomtien, Bangsaen (eastern province of Chonburi) and Samila (Songkhla city).
This will be a trial phase which will eventually pan out to all the beaches of Thailand as well as the passenger and tourist boats. The aim is to tackle the damage to the underwater environment too.
Thailand is currently world’s sixth most litter-strewn place, according to the Bangkok Post.
Information source: theguardian
Title image source: independent.co.uk