Connect with us


Opinion: Fighting Andaman trash

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: The excellent work the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) has done over the years to try to save iconic ocean animals found washed up on the island’s shores deserves the full support of the community. However, as the head of the agency’s Endangered Species Unit has pointed out, the real solutions are preventative measures that see the community tackling the enormous amounts of rubbish occupying Andaman marine environments.

Newcomers to the island may be unaware of the fact that Phuket was once renowned for the sea turtles that came to nest along the pristine shores of our beaches, most famously the leatherbacks of Mai Khao.

Nowadays, the spectacle can only be appreciated by watching old Thai movies because leatherbacks no longer nest on Phuket – at least there hasn’t been any record of them doing so for the past 25 years. When news about leatherbacks does make local headlines, it is far more likely to be about a carcass washed ashore after the animal chokes on a plastic bag or was maimed by a fishing net or boat propeller.

The same fate has applied to many other sea turtle species that have nested here for eons. Unlike the leatherback, hatchlings of species such as the ridley and green sea turtles can be nursed in onshore enclosures until they are old enough to be released into the sea, giving them a better chance of survival against predators, at least theoretically.

A quick look at other species that are suffering from our neglect makes it abundantly clear that natural predation is simply not the problem – we are.

Only 20 to 30 per cent of dolphins recovered by the PMBC are even alive. Those that are recovered with their hearts still beating usually suffer from internal infections that are often brought on by eating plastic bags that they had mistaken for jellyfish.

The devastation of sea dumping and littering goes far beyond the harmful effects that are highlighted by ambassadors from the ocean – iconic marine animals such as dolphins, turtles and giant manta rays. Fragile seagrass beds, mangroves and coral reef systems – and all those who call those environments home – are being obliterated through our careless actions. Too often the public becomes attached to saving a single dolphin or turtle, when the greater battle to be fought is one that is more difficult to emotionally connect with – the ‘war’ on sea dumping, to the extent that there truly is one.


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Vietnam8 hours ago

Ho Chi Minh launches 3-stage reopening plan, international on January 1

Kanchanaburi9 hours ago

Border shacks to be demolished for aiding Burmese immigrants

Tourism10 hours ago

Tourism calls for Russia and India to be added to safe list

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Economy11 hours ago

Bank of Thailand plans real-world test of digital currency in 2022

Hua Hin11 hours ago

Hua Hin calls for delay in reopening amid Covid-19 infections

Chiang Mai12 hours ago

Chiang Mai Covid-19 infections swell ahead of reopening

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Koh Samui13 hours ago

Thailand’s bars and beach parties remain strictly closed (cough)

Coronavirus (Covid-19)13 hours ago

Covid-19 Sunday: Deaths fall to low of 56, provincial data

Tourism14 hours ago

Ministry of Foreign Affairs sings praises of Thailand Pass

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

Covid-19 in prison: outbreaks from overcrowding now subsiding

Coronavirus (Covid-19)16 hours ago

Covid-19 deaths receding, but still here; 1 month old baby dies

Crime1 day ago

Van packed with 39 illegal burmese workers stopped in Phichit

Vietnam1 day ago

Vietnam to test reopening starting with Phu Quoc Island

World1 day ago

Chinese law to limit homework and tutoring pressure on kids

Bangkok1 day ago

Thai man takes grandfather hostage in Bangkok standoff

Thailand1 month ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism8 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11