PATONG: Greenpeace (International) staged another rally today, but this time right on the beach in Patong. The event took place just two hours before the group left Phuket aboard the Rainbow Warrior at 1:00 pm. Others participating in the rally were Greenpeace (Thailand), the Phuket Environmental Protection Group, and the Federation of Southern Fisherfolk. Unlike the demonstration at the incinerator in Phuket Town on Thursday, today’s activities were more of an informational nature. “Our objective today is to inform local people and tourists about how Phuket has been affected by tourism. For example, Mai Khao Beach up in the north of the island, and the hotels that will be built there,” Thara Buakumsri of Greenpeace (Thailand) said in reference to the near-disappearance of turtles that used to lay their eggs on that beach. The rally today was ‘up close and personal’, with some of the participants marching up and down the beach handing out flyers to scores of tourists, while others sailed along the shoreline in dinghies bearing signs imploring people to stop turtle hunting and illegal fishing. “We’re in Patong because it is the busiest tourist area. But please understand that we are not trying to blame Phuket’s environmental problems on the tourists. We only want them to know that they, too, are an important contributor to the degradation here,” said one of the orgainzers of the event. The next stop for the Rainbow Warrior will be Koh Samui where they plan to stage a demonstration at the local incinerator, a facility similar to, but smaller than, the one in Phuket. As was the case at the incinerator here, the demonstrators’ stated purpose is to warn the authorities and those living on the island of the impact of the burner on their environment.
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