World

Thailand bans smoking on 20 popular tourist beaches

Thailand bans smoking on 20 popular tourist beaches

The measure will apply to up to 20 beaches in areas, including the popular tourist destination of Phuket.

Among the initial beaches to ban smoking will be Pattaya and Jomtien (Pattaya City), Patong (Phuket), Mae Pim (Rayong), Laem Sing (Chantaburi), Bang Saen (Chonburi), Cha-am (Phetburi), Khao Takiab (Prachuap Khiri Khan), Bo Phut (Koh Samui), Sai Ree (Chumphon), and Koh Khai Nok and Koh Khai Nai (off the coast of Phang Nga). However, authorities said smoking zones adjacent to beaches will be set up before the ban becomes effective.

"To ensure tourists are aware of the smoking ban, we will erect signs with the ban announcements on the beaches of Phra Ae, Klong Dao and Klong Kwang", Wittaya Khunsan, chief of Krabi's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, said yesterday. The survey found an average of 0.76 cigarette butt per square metre of sand.

It comes after the country's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) reported that it had retrieved tens of thousands of cigarette butts left in the sand throughout the beaches in the country.

The Department said they found cigarette butts make up a third of the collected debris.




"Cigarettes have a direct effect on the natural environment", director general Jatuporn Buruspat told the Phuket Gazette.

There will be "designated areas" for smokers located further inland, according to Jatuporn Buruspat, head of the DMCR, with containers provided to drop butts into. This greatly added to the problem of unnecessary flooding caused by rubbish clogging the drains.

Those found flouting the ban could face a maximum penalty of a year in prison and/or a fine of 100,000 baht. Mr Buruspat said Thailand had the sixth most littered beaches in the world.

Mr. Poropat said that officials also talk about the measures aimed at solving the related problem of cigarette butts that tourists throw into the water from boats.

The ban is due to come into force later this month as Phuket prepares to host an global conference on sea waste.


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