Gov flames MNRE for lack of environmental protection

PHUKET: Citing examples of deforestation and encroachment across the island, Phuket Governor Niran Kalayanamit yesterday criticized the Phuket office of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) for failing to report any encroachment or make arrests, despite evidence that encroachment was continuing in some areas.

At the monthly meeting of the Phuket Provincial Security Committee at Phuket Provincial Hall, Gov Niran urged all agencies to step up the fight against illegal occupation and use of government land, and to improve efforts to protect national forest, conservation land and other natural resources from exploitation.

The Phuket Provincial Forestry Office reported that 26 illegally felled logs were seized from protected forest land in the Nakkerd Hills and there was evidence of continued destruction of mangrove forest along the banks of the Bang Chee Lao and Tha Chin canals in Rassada.

No suspects have been apprehended.

Noting that such encroachment is often organized and paid for by influential investors, Gov Niran ordered the Phuket MNRE office to seek assistance from the provincial administration’s environmental protection unit if they found themselves incapable of fulfilling their duties on their own.

However, Paitoon Panchaiyaphum, chief of the Marine and Coastal Resource Conservation Center Region 4 Office in Phuket, reported that Phuket’s marine and coastal resources were receiving adequate protection by his agency.

The center had received good co-operation from the dive industry and tourism-related businesses in helping to carry out monitoring, he said

The office dispatches patrol boats 15 days a month to prevent fishing within the three-kilometer exclusion zone and other illegal activities, K. Paiboon said.

The agency is also working to create artificial reefs and minimize damage to coral reefs by installing moorings at dive sites so dive boats won’t need to anchor, he said.

Phuket News

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