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Action to be taken on coral, wastewater at Racha Island

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Action to be taken on coral, wastewater at Racha Island | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A framework to deal with longstanding problems at Racha Yai Island, particularly coral damage and wastewater, was drafted at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday morning.

To prevent boat operators from damaging corals by dropping anchor on them, 20 more moorings will be added, though their locations have yet to be determined, said Tanet Munnoy, director of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.

The move is in response to video taken in early October which documented anchors wedged against corals (story here).

“We are going to add both big and small moorings. The bigger moorings will be better able to handle the weight of the big boats such as diving and fishing boats, while the smaller ones will be for the speedboats and longtails,” Mr Tanet said.

Many of the moorings already in place are damaged, he said, primarily because of overloading.

Mr Tanet also plans to send two officers to the island to ensure that boats are using the moorings rather than dropping anchor on coral, and vowed to charge offenders. The officers will also determine whether enough moorings are in place and whether they can handle the weight being put on them.

Mr Tanet asked for help from boat operators and local residents in helping to monitor and take care of the moorings.

An additional move to protect coral, divers and swimmers was already laid out at a meeting last week with boat operators, Mr Tanet said. Bays at Racha Yai will be divided into three zones: a swimming zone, a mooring zone and a diving zone.

“In the future, we plan to use the Koh Tao zones as a model. We’ll divide the areas into protected zone, used zone and underdevelopment zone,” he said.

The second major topic, wastewater, will be addressed next Monday when officials visit Racha Yai to conduct a Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) test on the wastewater released by the bungalow resort and restaurant Raya Father. BOD is a measure of the degree of water pollution.

“If the water is polluted, they will be given a warning. If they don’t fix the problem we will take legal action,” said Kasem Sukwaree, Chief of the Phuket Natural Resources and Environment Office, who will oversee the testing with Mr Tanet, members of the Pollution Control Department and Rawai Municipality officers.

As for the safety of tourists who have been drowning in increasing numbers at the island, and whose deaths motivated Sarit Jandee, head of the island’s Conservation Club, to present an ultimatum to the Governor on October 3, (story here) two proposals are on the table.

“A health center on the island is a possibility,” Governor Maitri said, referring to the request by Mr Sarit for such a facility.

“We have to wait for Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO) to do a feasibility study,” he said.

The study was proposed by PPHO deputy chief Krit Sakulpat during officials’ visit to the island last Saturday.

The other proposal, already being acted on, is to offer more training to tour guides. The DMCR offers guides – but does not require they attend – a tour guide training course once a year, Mr Tanet said.

It is not well-attended, he added.

“We will offer it more often – three times a year – and strongly urge the guides to attend.

“And this year we will work together with Phuket Tourism Business and the Guide Registration office. They will be better able to advertise the news about the course than we are,” he said.

The next seminar is expected to take place in December.

— Orawin Narabal

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Phuket

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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