Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Thailand to ban smoking on 20 beaches to curb cigarette butt waste

Thailand to ban smoking on 20 beaches to curb cigarette butt waste

SMOKERS in Thailand face a year in prison if they light up on any of the country's 20 most popular beaches, in a crackdown on litter. The decision was made after Phuket Marine Biological Center found an average of three cigarette butts for every 4sqm they sampled in an area of Patong beach.

"We are not completely banning smoking on the beach, but we will arrange a smoking area with bins where cigarette butts can be disposed", said the department's Director-General Jatuporn Buruspat.

"To ensure tourists are aware of the smoking ban, we will erect signs with the ban announcements on the beaches of Phra Ae, Klong Dao and Klong Kwang", Wittaya Khunsan, chief of Krabi's Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, said yesterday. Discarded cigarette butts accounted for a third of rubbish collected by the department.

He also claimed cigarettes have left the country at risk of flooding, with drains clogged by more than 100million cigarette butts dropped on roads in Thailand each day.

Jatuporn noted, however, that there will be smoking areas near each beach as well as ashtrays provided before entering the beaches, Daily News reported. Mr Buruspat said Thailand had the sixth most littered beaches in the world.

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

After a trial period, the ban is expected to be enforced on all Thai beaches, as well as on passenger and tourist boats, to tackle the problem of butts damaging the underwater environment.

The ban is due to come into force later this month as Phuket prepares to host an global conference on sea waste.

The ban, which will come into play in November, will affect 20 beaches including Patong, Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nai (Phuket); Hua Hin, Cha-Am, Khao Takiab (western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan); Pattaya, Jomtien, Bangsaen (eastern province of Chonburi) and Samila (Songkhla city). ASEAN countries will discuss the problem of rubbish being dumped into the sea in each country, and how they are dealing with it, Jatuporn added.

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