PHUKET: Following years of complaints by residents about the stagnant, polluted water that has built up in Koh Racha Yai’s Patok Canal, authorities began dredging work last Saturday.
The dredging of the one-kilometer-long canal will take about 10 days to complete, explained Capt Borworn Promkaewngam of the Royal Thai Navy’s Third Area Command in Phuket and head of the Koh Racha Yai standing committee on waste-water management.
“This is only the first step. Once the canal has been dredged, it will be up to the Rawai Municipality to enforce strict waste-water management controls on hotels and restaurants in the area to prevent them from discharging dirty water into the canal,” said Capt Borworn.
“It is also important that all members of the Koh Racha Yai community take part in helping to keep Koh Racha beautiful for generations to come.”
Capt Borworn was joined at the commencement of the dredging by Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos and Sarit Jundee, president of the Conservation Committee of the Koh Racha Yai Club, as well as local residents and hotel representatives.
Local officials can only do so much to keep pollution in check, Mr Aroon said.
“If we are to find a long-term solution, we need hotels, restaurants and other business operators here to take responsibility for their waste management,” Mr Aroon said.
The dredging was applauded by Mr Sarit.
“We are glad that officials are finally taking care of this. We have been calling for their help for many years, but until now, nothing was ever done,” he said.
“In the past six years, more and more tourists have come to the island, putting a burden on our resources.
“I hope that in the future, officials will be stricter about enforcing waste-management regulations. Above all, business owners on the island must be faithful in preserving the island’s natural resources and not just take advantage of them.”
— Chutharat Plerin