After finding an alarming number of cigarette butts in the sand, officials plan to begin enforcing a smoking ban on Thai beaches as early as next month.
After receiving recent data from the Andaman Coastal Resources Research and Development Center revealing that more than 60,000 cigarettes were found on a 2.5 kilometer stretch of sand on Phuket’s popular Patong Beach, the Marine and Coastal Resources Department (MCRD) brought the cigarette issue before Natural Resources and Environment Minister Gen. Surasak Kanchanarat, who was also disturbed by the findings, reported The Nation.
So, in an effort to keep cigarette butts off the beaches that Thailand is so well-known for, officials are planning to ban smoking by the seaside, citing that cigarettes do damage to marine and coastal resources and basing the assumed presence of cigarette butts on beaches on those found on Patong Beach.
Officials want to begin enforcing the ban on several popular beaches around the country and later on all Thai beaches, according to MCRD Department Chief Jatuporn Buruphat.
Laws outlawing beach smoking will be anchored in marine park law, which means that illegal smoking could carry penalties as stiff as fines of THB100,000 (about US$3,000) or up to a year in jail.
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).
Jatuporn noted, however, that there will be smoking areas near each beach as well as ashtrays provided before entering the beaches, Daily News reported.
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