The reefs will revive Cha-Am underwater eco-system and prevent beaches from erosion.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), Prince Songkhla University, Sirindhorn International Environmental Park and Naresuan Military Base have lately installed artificial reefs in front of the Sirindhorn Environmental Park in Cha-Am.
On 15 May 2013, at 10.30 a.m., the Phetchaburi Governor Mr. Monthien Thongnit, along with the EGAT Director General Mr. Suthat Pattamasiriwat, launched an activity of installing artificial reefs made with fly ash to preserve environment of Cha-Am beaches at the Sirindhorn International Environmental Park. The reefs, produced under the research made by Prince Songkhla University, was made with fly ash and cement because the two combinations can resist erosion and sea salt well. Moreover, both of them are cheap and do not affect marine environment as well.
The artificial reefs made by fly ash and cement was installed in Phetchaburi for the first place in the country.
The Director General of EGAT said that erosion of coastlines in Thailand was then put into Thai national agenda already because it affected Thai economy, tourism, industry, agriculture and coastal fishing. Highly concerned with the problem, the EGAT then gave Prince Songkhla University some financial support of 10.67 million Baht to launched a project on studying and experimenting fly ash artificial reefs. Taking five years from June, 2009 to the present, this is a pilot project on protection Thai beaches from erosion. “The fly ash and cement are materials from electricity generating at Mae Moh Power Plant in Lampang. Each year, the Power Plant there produces 3 million tons. To make artificial reefs that are well resistant to sulphate, 30% of fly ash is needed to mix with 70% of cement,” said Mr. Suthat, adding that the fly ash was as cheap as 30 cents per kilogram and cement was only two Baht a kilo.
According to the research made by Prince Songkhla University, fly ash does not affect marine animals. Previously, Laos PDR used it to construct a big dam to save cost and enhance its durability. Fly ash is also used in making pillars and doing big construction in Thailand and other countries.
There are 289 artificial reefs to be installed at Sirindhorn International Environmental Park. 114 of them are small, 116 medium-sized and 59 big. All of them were put in five rows in the water at around 2-3 meter depth. “The artificial coral reefs will act as an underwater wall against tides before they reach the shore. They will be a home and sanctuary for marine animals and a place where real reefs and small marin animals breed and grow. Also, they don’t affect the natural coastal landscape,” said Mr. Suthat, adding that this project would continue to other beaches in Thailand soon.