Connect with us

Opinion

PHUKET OPINION: Opening the door to devastation

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET OPINION: Opening the door to devastation | Thaiger

PHUKET: A special notification issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) in July to break the impasse over the proposed Klong Koh Pee Road project will no doubt be treated as great news by the vast majority of Phuket people who work, study or relax at Saphan Hin. (See Governor retires, front page, current issue of the Phuket Gazette. Digital subscribers may download their copy here.)

But if the measure is exploited by profit-seeking officials and politicians it could spell the final chapter for what remains of Phuket’s once-abundant mangrove forests.

The Klong Koh Pee Road project dates back to 1995, when it was initiated by the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization.

The project’s first Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report was rejected by the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, which correctly cited the landmark 1991 Cabinet resolution that declared all of Thailand’s remaining mangrove forests “untouchable”.

Four revised EIAs submitted to the agency over the past two years have likewise been returned with requests for “more information”.

These rejections were not without reason. Mangrove conservation, a cause championed by HM The King, is crucial to the protection of the marine environment. Mangroves also provide protection against tsunamis and storm surges, which is particularly important at Saphan Hin, home to a huge landfill just above sea level that continues to grow at a rate of 250 tons a day.

It is also an area that is already facing serious erosion problems during the monthly peak tides, as residents of the nearby Haad Saen Suk community strongly attest.

Bulldozing the mangroves there and laying down a bituminous barrier to drainage is just asking for more trouble.

The Klong Koh Pee drainage basin has already experienced one ecological disaster: the June 2007 release of a toxic plume from the landfill into local waterways that killed entire stocks of farmed fish.

The latest road design, which would include an elevated section to minimize damage to drainage and mangroves, seems a sensible solution. But it will not come cheap, and whether the central government will provide the estimated 185-million-baht in funding is another issue altogether.

The biggest fear is that the new measure, which applies only to Phuket, will result in a renewed assault on the island’s mangroves.

Local administrative bodies have had an abysmal record at preventing encroachment in mangrove forest reserves over the years.

The fact that the door is now open for these bodies to get into the business of mangrove destruction themselves does not bode well for the future of these irreplaceable natural assets.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

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

image

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Best of44 mins ago

Thailand’s 5 most absolutely luxurious hotels

Myanmar55 mins ago

Myanmar envoy updated to Brunei’s 2nd Foreign Affairs Minister

Thailand2 hours ago

Thailand’s national parks ban the use of some sunscreens containing particular chemicals

Sponsored4 hours ago

Tour Phuket’s Islands with 5 Star Marine

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!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Wednesday Covid Update: 20,200 new cases, provincial totals

Guides2 hours ago

Visa Exemption Rule – 56 countries to enter Thailand without a visa

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Third phase testing successful for Vietnam Covid-19 vaccine

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Phuket3 hours ago

Phuket police arrest 2 men and seize more than 160,000 methamphetamine pills

Thailand5 hours ago

Good Morning Thailand | Hemp Ice cream, Thai English proficiency, Covid stats

Best of5 hours ago

5 Best Seafood Restaurants in Koh Samui

Coronavirus Vaccines6 hours ago

Health Ministry to distribute 10 million vaccine doses across Thailand this month

Protests6 hours ago

31 anti-government activists granted conditional release

Best of7 hours ago

Top 5 suit tailors in Bangkok

Protests7 hours ago

Ban on mass gatherings published in Royal Gazette ahead of anti-government protests this weekend

Thailand7 hours ago

Wednesday Covid Update: Record high of 20,200 new cases and 188 deaths

Coronavirus Vaccines7 hours ago

Health Ministry calls for a halt to criticism of doctors not involved in vaccine decisions

Thailand5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

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

Phuket5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending