For more than two decades, a section of Hua Hin beach had been marred by a recurring problem.
Whenever heavy rains occurred, waste water from nearby communities would flow into the sea, causing environmental pollution and health hazards.
The problem affected part of Hua Hin beach close to Soi 77, an area which is particularly popular with foreign tourists who go there to eat, drink, sunbathe and relax.
Recently, a group of concerned local residents, which included the owners of neighbouring Baan Sukkasaem, along with representatives from Less Plastic Thailand – a grass roots initiative working to reduce plastic pollution in the country – came together to tackle the problem.
Their efforts led to the development of a simple, yet effective solution that has prevented waste water from flowing onto the beach after heavy rains.
The initiative to solve the problem began when members of the group ascertained exactly where the wastewater was coming from and why.
They found the local sewage and drain system had been designed in such a way that during heavy rains, rainwater would be diverted away from the town centre and out to the sea in order to prevent flooding.
In principle, the idea was a good one. However, the reality was quite different.
During the heavy downpours synonymous with Thailand’s rainy season, such large volumes of storm water mixed with sewage would flow directly into the klong and out onto the beach near Soi 77.
The group then set about preventing the waste water from flowing onto the beach, believing that by doing so they could significantly reduce the pollution levels and protect the environment.
After a consultation with a local engineer, who by coincidence had knowledge of the drainage system and was familiar with its original design, they found that there was a simple solution to solve the problem of the wastewater flowing onto the beach.
The solution involved water being redirected underground to a neighboring lift station that could then pump the water overflow to the local treatment facility.
The solution was put before Hua Hin Municipality and the Harbour Department, with both agencies coming out in support of the privately funded initiative.
The project was then approved by Hua Hin Mayor Nopporn Wutthikul and was carried out during September and October of last year.
However, before the work to redirect the wastewater could begin, contractors had to be hired to remove the filthy sediment that had built up in the outlet which would flow water to the beach. Truckloads of sediment was eventually removed.
Once completed, the results were immediate and impressive.
After the first heavy rain, the waste water no longer flowed onto the beach, having been diverted away to the lift station. The water quality and cleanliness of the beach improved significantly too.
The only water that remains in the area is from the sea during high tide. During the dry season the area where the waste water collected on the beach is likely to dry out.
The success of this initiative can be attributed to the collaborative efforts of the local community, volunteers, and local authorities. The initiative not only solved the problem of waste water flowing onto the beach but also helped to raise awareness about environmental issues and the importance of community involvement in finding solutions to such problems.
The success story of the initiative is an inspiring example of how a simple solution can have a significant impact on the environment and the community.
By working together, and with the help of local authorities, the local community was able to tackle a problem that had persisted in Hua Hin for more than two decades.
The initiative is a shining example of how communities can take ownership of their environment and create a sustainable future for themselves and future generations.
In addition, the area around where the water would flow onto the beach has also been relandscaped.
What was once a dirty and uninviting area has been transformed into a clean and much more welcoming environment.
The relandscaping is a major improvement over the previous state of the area and helps to enhance the natural beauty of the beach.
The next time you are on the beach at Soi 77, take a moment to see how it is now much cleaner than it was previously.