Phuket divers to clean up Patong Bay

PHUKET: Divers from the Thai Diving Association and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources Phuket office will stage an underwater cleanup in Patong Bay next Thursday.

“The underwater waste to be collected includes fishing nets thrown overboard by fishermen as well as empty bottles of beer and other alcohol that tourists have thrown into the sea,” Ongart Chanacharnmongkol, Director of Phuket Natural Resources and Environmental Office, announced yesterday.

Speaking at a seminar held to highlight the damage being done to Phuket’s coral reefs, Mr Ongart said one of his biggest concerns was the impact of construction in coastal areas.

“Some construction sites along the coast have resulted in muddy runoff, and wastewater, flowing directly into the sea with nothing to dilute the contamination of the water.

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“Construction standards mandate that a wall [to contain runoff] and wastewater treatment tanks must be built in order to protect the sea. Otherwise, the coral reefs will deteriorate,” Mr Ongart explained.

Local fishermen and tourists dropping anchor on reefs also damaged the local corals, he added, alluding to the need for more mooring buoys.

Better waste collection was also needed to reduce the volume of trash found floating in – or under – the sea, he said.

“Coastal construction should be monitored to ensure it has minimal effects on the environment, and tourists should help by not dumping anything into the sea,” the director concluded.

Anyone with qualified diving experience is invited to join the underwater cleanup next Thursday.

To take part, divers must register at the police box at the end of Soi Bangla between 8:30 am and 9:30am on the day.

Diving suits and dive equipment will be provided.

The cleanup will end around midday

— Janpen Upatising

Phuket News

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