The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources will impose a smoking ban at 20 beaches from November. Local beaches include Cha-Am and Kho Takiab.
Jatuporn Burussapat, the directorgeneral of the department, said that in a survey of Patong beach, Phuket, conducted by the department’s research and development centre, an average of 130,000 cigarette butts were found on every 2.5-kilometre stretch of the beach. According to Thai PBS, statistics compiled by countries with beaches, cigarette packages and filters constitute one-third of the entire garbage on a beach.
The cigarette butts block drain pipes. In water, they release toxic chemical substances such as cadmium, lead, arsenic and others which are poisonous to the food chain. As empowered by Section 17 of the Marine and Coastal Resources Administration Act, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, in a pilot move, will impose a smoking ban at 20 beaches, starting in November. They include Mae Phim, Laem Sing, Bang Saen, Cha-am, Khao Takiab, Bo Phut, Sai Ree, PaTong, Pattaya, Jomthien and Simira beaches. The ban will in the future be expanded to cover all beaches, Mr Jatuporn said. Smoking areas, with receptacles for cigarette butts, will be arranged for smokers before they walk down the beaches. Those violating the ban will be liable to one year in jail and/or a fine of not exceeding 100,000 THB. In the near future, throwing of cigarette butts from boats as well as smoking on these boats will also be banned.