Connect with us


Sunday Opinion: Nesting sustainable development



PHUKET: The Phuket Gazette would like to join the Phuket Governor in wishing all of our readers a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012. [Click here to read the governor’s column in the current issue of our newspaper.]

The past 12 months have seen continued growth in the tourism sector, but Phuket’s ongoing transformation into a vibrant, international destination has not come without a steep price in terms of the environment.

Phuket was largely spared the flooding that inundated much of Thailand over the past year, starting with the floods in the other southern provinces in March.

As bad as those floods were, they paled into insignificance during the catastrophe that left much of the Central Plains flooded for months, killing more than 800 people and causing 1.4 trillion baht in damages, according to World Bank estimates.

With Thais no strangers to deadly inundations, the hearts of people here in Phuket go out to all of those who suffered, and continue to suffer, from the flooding. At the same time, we in Phuket know we need to learn a lesson from it.

All over the island, excavators continue to claw into hillsides and reduce rolling pasture land into flat, ready-to-build-upon plots, stripping them of their protective plant cover and exposing the soil to erosion. Some residents of the island have seen the results firsthand, their homes and places of work crumpled by small-scale landslides.

The effects extend much further than structural damage, however. Even as the island continues the relentless paving of its hills, forests and pastures, most of the topsoil exposed or skinned off in the process of development ultimately finds its way into the sea.

The result is less dramatic than the physical damage we see daily, but no less destructive, killing offshore corals and covering the natural sea floor in life-choking silt.

Perhaps the best bellwether of all is the decline in local sea turtle populations. As the current issue of the Phuket Gazette went to press on Thursday, almost two months into the annual nesting season, there were virtually no reports of nests at any of the traditional sites on the island.

This is despite numerous programs aimed at raising turtles in captivity and the endless CSR-type turtle release ceremonies going back decades.

With a survival strategy evolved over the eons to compensate for huge fatality rates due to predation, healthy female turtles can lay hundreds or even thousands of eggs over their long lifespans. Of these, only two hatchlings need to survive, on average, to keep populations stable.

But Phuket is obviously losing the battle to achieve that.

The inability of our coastal waters to support such a modest figure speaks volumes. We can only hope that 2012 is the year local officials take measures to better prevent erosion, encroachment, illegal fishing practices and other deadly factors that have combined to drive Phuket’s most iconic creature onto the brink of extinction along the Andaman coast.


Get more from The Thaiger

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.

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Politics3 mins ago

Vladimir Putin officially annexed four parts of Ukraine

Transport2 hours ago

Phuket Airport officials pulled tourist from van, insisted they use airport taxi

Thailand3 hours ago

Thailand’s strange laws – 10 strange laws in Thailand

Sponsored1 day ago

10 Best Seed Banks that Ship Cannabis Seeds Discreetly to You (Free US Shipping)

Politics4 hours ago

The long goodbye – Which way now for PM Prayut?

Pattaya4 hours ago

Pattaya Police Chief cleared of vice slurs, back on duty

Tourism5 hours ago

Reopening Thailand has a busy activity schedule

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Tourism5 hours ago

Today is the day! Full post-pandemic Thailand reopening

Pollution7 hours ago

Garbage in canals is worsening flooding in Bangkok

Weather7 hours ago

Hurricane Ian lashes South Carolina

Tourism8 hours ago

5-star squatters evicted from Layan Beach

Video8 hours ago

All you need to know about Thailand’s Vegetarian Festival

Protests9 hours ago

Anti-Prayut rallies expected across Bangkok

What you get for $X24 hours ago

What $100,000 buys you for a condo in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui and Hua Hin

Thailand1 day ago

Thailand News Today | Activists plan protests all across Thailand

Thailand1 day ago

Snitching on parking space hoggers could earn you 5,000 baht in Thailand

Thailand1 year ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

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

Phuket2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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