Phuket beaches take a pounding

PHUKET CITY: The problem of coastal erosion has been worsening in Phuket, the state-run Thai News Agency has reported.

Residents in some areas of Phuket complain that coastal erosion is occurring at an average rate of as much as 10 meters a year due to both natural causes and coastal development.

One hard hit area is the cliff-backed Lepang Beach in Cherng Talay, where sand quickly flows into the sea when coastal erosion occurs at other beaches, especially during the monsoon season.

The loss of soil-stabilizing pine trees has further exacerbated the problem.

Surawong Tientong, who heads the National Disaster Warning Center and chairs a parliamentary committee on natural disaster mitigation, said another spot affected by erosion on Phuket’s west coast is the shoreline along Mai Khao Beach, near Phuket International Airport.

The problem in both areas is natural tidal forces coupled with destruction of mangrove forest to clear the way for real estate projects and businesses in response to the rising demands of tourism.

In 1996, authorities tried to solve the erosion problem by filling in problem areas with sand and improving the coastal environment.

Some local businesses and coastal communities have also put up sandbag dykes and embankments for shoreline protection.

“The monsoon season on the Andaman shore lasts from May to September. Strong winds make bigger waves that pound the shoreline and pull sand back to the sea,” a Phuket resident noted.

According to the Phuket Marine Biological Center, over 10 sites on Phuket face coastal erosion.

Officials recently checked the problem areas and are now seeking solutions and preventive measures.


Phuket News

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