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Island View: Need to be nicer to our beaches



PHUKET: It’s been a year since I came to Phuket and I have managed to discover a lot more of the island than many others who’ve been living here a lot longer than I have. This is mostly because I didn’t fuss or spend hours reading reviews or deciding where to go. I simply opened up Google Maps, ‘dropped a pin’ onto a water body I hadn’t seen before and hopped onto my bike to discover what lay there.

So far, every single trip has been worth it. However, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to do that, given the rate at which we are destroying nature. Marine life is dying, wastewater is flowing freely into the ocean and now private companies have stepped into the mix and started charging for beach access. I, for one, am at a loss to keep up with the whole mess.

However, I’m sure the authorities know best and have planned accordingly, and unlike numerous visitors and expats who are constantly complaining about how the beaches have become inaccessible and how greed drives everything here, I trust that the authorities are going to do what’s right for Thailand, not just what the tourists want.

Tourists are guests and their needs deserve attention, but they don’t realize how much damage they cause during their short stay. A few weeks of shenanigans in Phuket has an adverse impact on both the people and the place. Why is it that tourists feel that the locals owe them a good time? Why do they ‘deserve’ unlimited access to beaches that they trash and never look back on?

I visited Mai Khao Beach about a year ago, and then again a few months ago. The difference was appalling. There were used condoms, empty beer bottles, discarded slippers, just bags full of trash strewn about on a beach that I had, not many months ago, seen in spotless condition. The difference seems to point to low season versus high season crowds.

It’s pretty clear what needs to be done, yet we beat about the bush and point fingers, but never really seem to do anything about it. I wish the authorities well on their mission to ‘reclaim’ Phuket beaches for the locals and for others who truly care about preserving it’s pristine beauty.

— Zohaib Sikander


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