Phuket coastal developments under scrutiny

PHUKET: Phuket governor Wichai Phraisa-ngob has backed concerns raised in an environmental impact assessment report that claims continued, unchecked development of Phuket coastal areas would destroy marine life and negatively impact local communities.

The governor’s comments came after the release of the report last week compiled by a panel of Phuket-based environmental experts, including scientists from the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) and local professors.

The report recommended that provincial authorities carefully examine marina and other coastal development proposals to properly assess their impact on the environment before giving them the go-ahead.

We have learned that there are several marina and pier construction projects planned in the Koh Sireh area and along the east coast. If these projects are allowed to go ahead, they could destroy marine life, such as coral and sea grass and have negative impacts on nearby communities, said panel members during a meeting held with Governor Wichai at Provincial Hall on September 8.

Panel member Dr Nalinee Thongtham of the PMBC said that when developers request permission to build marinas and piers, they promise that locals will have access to the area and benefit from the development, but in reality, once the developments are complete, locals are not allowed into the areas and do not benefit from them in any way.

Governor Wichai agreed with the panel members and said that Phuket would end up looking like a ‘spider with legs going out into the sea’ and suffer in the long run if tougher restrictions were not placed on such projects.

“It will no longer be so easy for investors and developers to build marinas in Phuket without proper assessment beforehand of the impact they will have on the surrounding area and communities,” Governor Wichai said.

“New policies will encourage developers to expand on existing marinas and piers instead of constructing new ones. Future projects will be carefully examined for their environmental impact and they will have to benefit the local community,” he added.

Governor Wichai stressed that it was up to Phuketians to protect the island’s environment and consider the future implications if such developments went ahead.

From now on, any proposal to build a marina should include plans to build proper access roads and be properly assessed by professionals for its environmental impact.

“This is your house, not mine. I’ll be leaving soon, so you’ll have to look after its future by protecting the land,” he concluded.

— Kittima Pornmongkhonwat

Phuket News

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