Economy

Thailand to introduce smoking ban on beaches

Horse riding on Hua Hin beach, a popular activity for domestic and global tourists.

Authorities will enforce the ban on up to 20 Thai beaches from November 1 after 138,000 cigarettes butts were found on a 2.5-kilometre stretch of Patong beach on the resort island of Phuket, which is popular with Australian tourists.

The move comes ahead of an worldwide conference on sea waste in Phuket later this month, Thai media reported.

The Department made a decision to take action after the Andaman Coastal Resources Research and Development Centre recently found between 63,000 and 138,000 cigarette butts on a 2.5-kilometre stretch of Patong Beach. The survey found an average of 0.76 cigarette butt per square metre of sand.

Buruspat added that the while smoking will be prohibited on the beaches affected by the measure, there will be "designated areas" further inland where smokers will be able drop their litter "in provided containers".

"They can drop their cigarette butts there but they will not be allowed to stroll along the beach while smoking", he said.

The ban is expected then to be widened to cover all Thai beaches.

The ban is being trialled on 20 beaches in the provinces of Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Songkhla, including Koh Samui and Pattaya, according to the Bangkok Post.

"Doing that allows for a high possibility cigarette butt being dropped into the sand".

Tourists face up to one year's jail and a 100,000-baht ($3850) fine if they are caught smoking on many of Thailand's beaches.

Thailand is the sixth worst polluter of seas in the world, Jatuporn said.

Jatuporn maintained that Thailand will host an worldwide meeting on sea waste in Phuket on Oct 22-23 where Asean countries will discuss the problem of rubbish being dumped into the sea in each country, and how they are dealing with it.

Boraphet noted that the ban will be introduced in the tourist areas in the heart of the Andaman sea and the Gulf of Thailand.



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