Phuket battered by coastal erosion

PHUKET: Officials yesterday expressed deep concern about the rate of coastal erosion, especially at Bang Tao Beach and coastal areas inside Sirinath National Park on Phuket’s west coast.

The issue was raised at a meeting chaired by Phuket Vice Governor Sommai Prijasilpa yesterday at The Metropole Phuket hotel in Phuket Town.

Coastal erosion has ravaged areas in all six provinces along the Andaman Coast, said Somsri Arvakait, Director of Policy and Management for Coastal Areas at the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR).

“In addition, areas in nine provinces in the upper reaches of the Gulf of Thailand have suffered extensive coastal erosion, as well as eight provinces in lower areas of the gulf,” she said.

Tanet Munnoy, chief of the DMCR Region 5 office based in Phuket, reported that sections of Bang Tao Beach and coastal areas inside Sirinath National Park were the worst hit on the island.

“Coastal erosion has been a problem for years. We have been studying it, but we simply are not sure how best to counter it,” he said.

The battle against coastal erosion has plagued seafront communities and resort owners in the region for years.

In March, Krabi villagers built bamboo barriers 500 meters long in front of a fishing village to protect against it (story here).

Last year, waves two meters high caused damage along 13 kilometers of beachfront at Bang Niang Beach in Phang Nga, forcing at least one hotel owner to set up sandbags to protect against the sea and prompting the local mayor to call for help from the Phang Nga Governor (story here).

In 2012, constant pounding by waves battered a seawall to pieces at Surin Beach in Phuket (story here).

In 2011, local businessmen and restauranteurs at Rawai Beach raced to repair a seawall after a large section of sidewalk plunged into the sea (story here).

Mr Tanet told the Phuket Gazette that the DMRC was to meet again soon to discuss possible strategies to defend against the erosion.

“However, at this stage we don’t know when or where that meeting will be,” he said.

— Woranut Pechdee

Phuket News

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