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Island View: Preventing pollution in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: As a longtime Phuket resident, along with with my past experience of taking action on personal and societal interests, I feel I must try to step up and do something here as well, as I feel certain things are not right.

Currently, my biggest concern is the change in the type of tourists visiting Phuket and the impact they have on the environment.

We went from those who would spend their days lying on the beaches, to those who spend their days on tour buses.

I guess we can’t do much about it, but we should at least require the bus companies to take actions that care for the environment before the island’s air is too heavy to breathe.

I live in Chalong, not far from a popular tourist attraction. This establishment is usually visited by 30-50 buses every day.

While drivers are waiting for the tour groups and guides to return, they almost never turn off their engines.

Just imagine the impact that this has on our environment – and this is just one of hundreds of tourist attractions on the island.

I understand that on a small scale, in my day to day life, it is not a huge deal, as I’m not home all day and it was my decision to move here in the first place. However, imagine what this does to the people who were born here, live here and work here.

They most likely can’t afford to move their homes or businesses and they have to sit all day with the stink of diesel engines in their face. It doesn’t seem right.

What can we do?

I don’t have an overall solution, but I think we first have to ask ourselves who’s benefiting from the tourists – locals, big investors or the tour companies?

Where is the tax money going?

As for some quick solutions, tour bus companies should be required to use only buses that meet emissions requirements, not like the many that leave black clouds of exhaust behind them. If they do not fulfill this requirement, then they should not be allowed to operate on the island.

This could be monitored easily at the Tah Chat Chai checkpoint.

Tour bus companies should also be forced to pay a fee per seat for each tour. This would encourage them not to drive around with their buses half full.

As a foreigner, there is only so much I can do. I have written a formal letter to Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada regarding this matter and I hope that by reading this, other people will stand up and take action too.

— Kenth Nilsson

 

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