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TAT says Phuket beaches have been “revitalised” during the pandemic

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TAT says Phuket beaches have been “revitalised” during the pandemic | Thaiger
Stock photo via Flickr

Phuket’s beaches are perhaps one of the only silver linings from the Covid pandemic, with marine life visibly rebounding after a long break from tourism, at least that’s what the Tourism Authority of Thailand says. The tourism officials say the huge reduction in tourist traffic has contributed to the Andaman Sea and coastlines becoming clearer than it has been in a long time, with local reservoirs teeming with fresh water.

But tourism officials didn’t mention the recent sea urchin phenomenon where hundreds of the red spiky sea creatures washed up on Patong Beach. A marine life expert in Phuket says wastewater being dumped in the Andaman Sea led to an algae bloom near the shoreline. Sea urchins moved to feast on the algae, but ended up getting stranded on the beach due to the tides. He says the sea urchins need to be in the ocean because they filter the water and serve as “cleaner of the sea.”

The Tourism Authority of Thailand recently released a statement, hyping up the Phuket beaches and saying the beaches have been “revitalised,” just as the island province prepares to reopen in July to vaccinated visitors.

They say Kamala Beach is still a popular destination, with a family-friendly atmosphere that offers tranquility along with snorkelling and swimming. Surin and Bangtao beaches are quieter than usual but still remain an excellent choice for those tourists who wish to partake in the nightlife and clubbing scene, according to TAT.

Mai Khao, Nai Yang, Nai Thon, and Sai Kaeo beaches, in northern Phuket, are visibly rejuvenated areas to visit as well. The 4 beaches are part of Sirinat National Park, where Olive Ridley sea turtles and Leatherneck turtles have returned during the pandemic to lay eggs. The Olive Ridley turtles were seen laying eggs on Mai Khao Beach after 20 years of no activity. The Leatherneck turtles also returned to lay eggs after 10 years of being absent.

The process to compromise between tourism and nature, started a few years ago with the beaches only allowing 10% to be consumed by vendors, umbrellas, and beach chairs. The southern beaches of Kata, Nai Han, and Kata Noi have also benefitted from the 10% vendor zone rule, as all seem to be returning to their original, pristine conditions they displayed a decade ago.

SOURCE: TAT News| Phuket News

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Maverick

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    I use Nai Harn beach regularly and snorkel 4 times a week at Yanui and Ao Sane beaches, not only is water Vis excellent, more sea life and signs that coral is recovering , there is new growth after last bleaching event. Can’t speak for other beaches, and wouldn’t swim at Patong if you paid me……don’t think folks really go their for the beaches …..

    • Thaiger

      Thaiger

      Friday, April 2, 2021 at 3:00 pm

      Thank you. That’s great to hear.

  2. Avatar

    Steve Kelly

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    The pandemic has afforded the Kingdom the opportunity to change the type of tourists that visit Thailand, I would be very happy to see the use of speedboats and jet skies restricted on Thai beaches. The water is so clean right now, it would be such a pity for it to return to pre Covid-19 levels of contamination.

  3. Avatar

    MARTIN BERRY

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 5:45 pm

    Until the locals stop using the Klongs as a toilet and for dumping all manner of waste into them Patong beach for example will always have problems as the klongs run into the estuary at the southern end. That said i hope there is a reset button for keeping the beaches as pristine as possible and the tourists, when they arrive in numbers, take care of a beautiful area of nature

  4. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 12:00 am

    they had an opportunity to sort phukets beaches after the tusnami disaster.all they did was tidy up and go back to buissness as usual afterwards.no reason to believe this upset will be treated any differently.the infrastructure is inadequate and as soon as visitors return it will be back to square one.a complete change of mindset by all local businesses is the only way for any meaningful changes to occur.the only way that’s going to happen is draconian legislation that is enforced to one and all.nothing else will work long term.

  5. Avatar

    Kim

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 10:11 am

    It has definitely improved the cleanliness of the water, however, there are still plenty of hidden waste water outlets at all beaches with beach front hotels. These hidden outlets come to surface during high and rough weather, as the sand on top is removed. I’m afraid the cleanliness will return to the same disgusting standard once tourism starts again, as people here dont give a crap about the environment – its all about money and how much you can personally amass.

  6. Avatar

    Craig

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    That’s good to hear but tourists will bring the past back. Enjoy the cleanliness now before it’s gone.

  7. Avatar

    Don jones

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    No vaccines available and allowing in tourists.Thai death wish

  8. Avatar

    RA

    Sunday, April 4, 2021 at 11:45 am

    Just a editorial comment, I’m not completely positive but it’s Leatherback Turtle, not Leatherneck.

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

Environment

Environmentalists criticise Netflix fishing doco for inaccuracies and misinformation

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Environmentalists criticise Netflix fishing doco for inaccuracies and misinformation | Thaiger
PHOTO: Alex Berger / Flickr

As Thailand accuses a Netflix documentary of using outdated and inaccurate information about the country’s fishing industry, a number of global environmental experts are echoing similar criticisms. According to a report in Coconuts, Seaspiracy has been slammed for being full of inaccuracies and twisting the science behind the damage to the world’s oceans, minimising the role of climate change and plastic pollution.

Brian Kahn, a journalist with an MA in Climate and Society, has written a piece called, Don’t Watch Netflix’s Seaspiracy, in which he also accuses the documentary of resorting to racial stereotypes.

“The bad guys are Asians, specifically Japanese whale and dolphin hunters and Chinese consumers of shark fin soup. The good guys – in this case, the experts he cites – are mostly white.”

According to the Coconuts report, the Marine Stewardship Council in London agrees the documentary contains “several inaccuracies” and the Plastic Pollution Coalition says the makers have “cherry-picked” quotes that will fit with their narrative. Marine biology magazine, Hakai, has also weighed in on the matter.

“Though the film misleads viewers with oversimplified science, its real harm is that it ignores the history, culture, and systemic inequities that are entwined with ocean conservation.”

Seaspiracy had its global release last month and has become one of the top 10 most-watched offerings on the Netflix streaming service. Opinion is divided, with many praising British filmmaker Ali Tabrizi for highlighting the issues with the global fishing industry, while others have slammed it for being biased and scientifically inaccurate.

The Royal Thai Navy has also criticised its portrayal of the country’s fishing industry, claiming it’s based on outdated information. In 2015, reporter Thapanee Eadsrichai exposed the significant role human trafficking and slavery played in the industry. This led to a crackdown of sorts, although slavery is still suspected of playing a role, on a smaller scale. The EU then threatened to ban all Thai seafood when the Kingdom’s illegal fishing practices came to light, but backed down when Thailand took steps to rectify the situation.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Thailand

Report attributes 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand to air pollution

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Report attributes 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand to air pollution | Thaiger
Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

According to the State of Global Air 2020 Report, around 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand, back in 2019, have been attributed to air pollution. The report cites the PM2.5 pollution particles as the main culprit as particles in that size range are the most likely to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs.

Exposure to these fine particles can cause short-term health effects, such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. But the long-term effects of being exposed to the particles is much more sinister.

Long-term exposure to PM2.5 pollution particles can affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Scientific studies have linked increases in daily PM2.5 exposure with increased respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, emergency department visits and deaths.

Studies also suggest that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter may be associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease. People with breathing and heart problems, children and the elderly may be more sensitive to PM2.5 particles.

In Thailand, it’s burning season in the north as farmland and forests blaze with abundance (the annual burning season usually lasts from January to April, before the wet season kicks in). Despite increasing cautions against air pollution affecting short and long-term health of residents, the fires don’t show signs of stopping. The government has even issued a no burning ban, but enforcing the ban has proved to be fruitless as such provinces in northern Thailand consist of vast forest lands.

The government helicopter team can only do so much as they set out to locate hotspots and attempt to extinguish them by dropping buckets of water. But crop burning appears to be the cheapest and fastest way to help farmers clear their lands for a new growing season.

Recently, Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Mai has ranked the 3rd most polluted city in the world, according to AirVisual, which gives live updates of rankings. Today, Chiang Mai doesn’t appear in the list of the top 10 most air-polluted cities in the world, according to iqair.com

SOURCE: Sky News/Health.ny.gov

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Environment

“James Bond Island” to be assessed for stability after the collapse of similar rock formations

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“James Bond Island” to be assessed for stability after the collapse of similar rock formations | Thaiger
James Bond Island / Photo by Engin Akyurt for Unsplash

The iconic limestone karst tower and popular tourist site known as “James Bond Island” will be checked for stability following the collapse of similar rock formations.

The rock formation in Phang Nga Bay appeared in the 1974 James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun.” It’s now known as James Bond Island. It has become a major tourist destination in Thailand and is a stop on many tours.

Experts from Thailand’s Department of Mineral Resources will assess the karst tower for stability over the next couple months. Apparently, this is the first detailed assessment of structural viability of James Bond Island.

In October, a large chuck of a Krabi karst broke off and collapsed on top of coral reef at a popular dive site. Another rock formation in Mu Koh Phetra National Park in Satun province collapsed in February.

The department’s director general Montri Lueng-ingkasoot says rock formations in the South have eroded over the years by thunderstorms, making them vulnerable to breaking apart and collapsing.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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