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Phuket

Phuket officials target beach management issues

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket officials target beach management issues | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Phuket Vice Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada has ordered every municipality and local administrative organization on the island to report all of their beach related issues to him by next week.

The move is an attempt to redress a slew of problems ranging from floating lanterns affecting air traffic at Phuket Airport to illegal beach vendors counter-suing officials as a “stall tactic”.

The news follows a meeting at Provincial Hall on Monday, where Vice Governor Chamroen heard a long and varied list of complaints by local authorities.

Beach encroachment was identified as a key issue at Laem Singh, Surin, Nai Yang and Yanui beaches.

Fireworks and floating lanterns – the latter especially enjoyed by tourists and celebrants during the annual Loy Krathong Festival, to be held this year on November 28 – were identified as another source of complaint.

“The use of fireworks and floating lanterns must be restricted. I would like to permit such activities only for special celebrations,” said Karon Deputy Mayor Itthiporn Sangkaew.

The complaint by Deputy Mayor Itthiporn follows Winai Chidchiew, the chief of Karon Subdistrict (Kamnan), being accused of allegedly threatening municipal officers into allowing firework displays to be held late at night in Karon.

“Also, tuk-tuks and taxis in the popular tourist beach areas of Kata and Karon need constant supervision and steps need to be taken to stave off damage to the environment,” Mr Itthiporn added.

Concern was raised that hotels in Sakoo and at Mai Khao, on Phuket’s northwestern shore, allowed guests to set alight the floating lanterns and fireworks, releasing them skyward, potential affecting air traffic arriving at Phuket Airport.

As a result, it was requested that such activities be banned from being held within a six-kilometer radius of the airport to ensure air traffic is not affected, and that the Provincial Office issue a formal notice to hotels in the area.

Winai Dechanupap, an officer at the Sakoo Tambon Administrative Organization (OrBorTor), raised another troubling issue: illegal beach vendors counter-suing local authorities as a stall tactic to allow them to continue trading until their case is heard in court.

“More beach vendors have set up shops on Nai Yang Beach. We are trying to stop them, but it seems they want to present their cases in court. The process of a judge hearing the case can take years, thus allowing them to continue to operate their businesses until the judge hands down a decision,” Mr Winai explained.

An officer from Rawai Municipality explained that Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos is currently facing legal action for Rawai Municipality attempting to repair a badly damaged section of footpath that was washed away by strong waves over the years.

“The mayor is being sued by a developer who claims to own the land,” the officer said.

Concerns were also raised about untreated wastewater being piped into the sea at Yanui and Nai Harn Beaches, and at Koh Racha Yai Island – all three of which are popular swimming and snorkeling locations for tourists.

V/Gov Chamroen gave all local authorities until next week to file their list of complaints.

“Then we will discuss what action to take and we will dedicate one beach as a ‘pilot beach’ to launch a beach management project,” he said.

— Atchaa Khamlo



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Phuket

Phuket seastead will be removed today

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket seastead will be removed today | The Thaiger

The Third Naval Area Command will remove the seastead stationed off Phuket south-east coast today, belonging to an American bitcoin investor and seasteading innovators Ocean Builders.

Thai authorities plan to seize the structure as evidence in a criminal case. They fear the structure will continue to be a navigation hazard if left there.

US national Chad Elwartowski and his Thai girlfriend, Supranee Thepdet (aka Nadia Summergirl), are facing charges of threatening the Kingdom’s sovereignty. Last Sunday officials from the Royal Thai Navy and Phuket Maritime boarded the structure saying it violated Article 119 of the Criminal Code and also posed a navigational hazard.

The couple launched the ‘Ocean Builders’ seastead on February 2 off the coast of Phuket. The structure is located to the southeast of Koh Racha Yai, approximately 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometres) from the mainland.

Elwartowski has claimed that his seastead is outside Thailand’s territorial waters, but Thai authorities insist that it violates Article 119 and challenges Thailand’s territorial rights.

“The Royal Thai Navy has full authority and duty to protect national interest and marine sovereignty in the area,” according to a Navy spokesperson.

Regarding the couple’s claim that they feared for their lives, Vice Admiral Sitthiporn Maskasem, commander of the Third Naval Area, said that authorities had followed the legal procedures.

“We are neither hunting them down nor threatening them,” said the commander.

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North East

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy

The Thaiger

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Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | The Thaiger

Thailand suffers calamities at both ends of the annual weather spectrum – both drought and flood. But as the demands on agriculture grow, with a growing population and the rise of tourists and development, the effects of these two extremes are becoming more apparent.

Which leads us to this year’s outlook of lower rains which is exposing the poor management of the Kingdom’s water resources. Greater development and growing population bases hasn’t been met with more or larger water catchments.

So Thai farmers are expected to face a tough 2019 as forecasters say the drought will be more acute than usual, lowering the water levels in reservoirs in the central and northeastern provinces especially.

Int eh south, Phuket, Thailand’s largest island and surrounded by water, has an acute water shortage as of Songkran and, without adequate monsoonal rain between now and November, will be facing a water crisis if it has to rely on its own island resources.

The Director General of Department of Agricultural Extension Samran Saraban says the drought this year is exacerbated by El-Nino weather cycle which causes temperature to rise 1-2 degrees higher than normal and cause the water levels in major reservoirs to drop to worrisome level. Higher temperatures mean more evaporation and more usage of reserves.

The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has called for farmers not to grow off-season rice as drought is predicted to spread into northeastern and eastern regions. That there will likely be a new administration coping with political instability will not help leaders focus on the country’s looming water shortage.

The long dry season will lower certain farm outputs, pushing up their prices. However, an overall farm income is set to decline because the drought will leave other negative affects to farmers who are also the consumers as well. This will affect the purchasing power of farm households, which account for one-third of Thais.

Etc, etc, etc.

Economists estimated the damage from the drought on the economy this year could be high. Kasikorn Research Center estimate the drought could cost at least 15.3 billion baht. Whilst Anusorn Tamajai, Dean of Economics Faculty, Rangsit University, estimates the drought to cost even more – 20-30 billion baht -because it would affect the outputs of off-season rice, sugarcane and tapioca.

“It will dampen the purchasing power of farmers in the second quarter.”

Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence chief Yanyong Thaicharoen said that the lackluster farm income can slash the growth rate of domestic consumption this year to 3.5% versus 4.6% growth last year, in addition to other factors, namely, high household debt and slower demand for durable goods.

Spending power from farmers, according to SCB, is crucial to sustain the growth of the economy. However, the grassroots economy is bracing for negative outlook this year.

There will be intense pressure on this season’s management of Thailand’s valuable water resources, through the remaining hot season and as the catchments gather water during the monsoon.

Forecast drought will weaken the Thai economy | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Thaiger | Wikipedia

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People

Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal

The Thaiger

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Patong’s trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Patong Police / Theeraphong Penmit / Newshawk Phuket

A Phuket boy has been rewarded after setting an excellent example for the rest of the Patong community.

8 year old Kosin Ta-ngam, who is studying at Sai Nam Yen School in Patong in Pratom Suksa Three, has been collecting garbage in the filthy Pak Bang Canal and along Patong Beach since the beginning of this year.

He lives with his grandmother and other relatives. His grandmother has been looking after Kosin since he was 10 months old.

A certificate, scholarship and life vest have been awarded to Kosin by the Patong Police Chief Col Anothai Jindamanee for displaying excellent citizen for the community as a youth volunteer and being an active part of keeping the city clean.

The Pak Bang Canal, running through the back of Patong into Patong Bay, has been a dark, dirty mess for decades. Many promises have been made to clean it up but it remains a disgraceful waterway flowing through Phuket’s main tourist town.

The tiny eight year old seems to be able to achieve a lot more than the local municipality with all their money and machinery.

Kosin, you are the Thaiger hero for today and we salute you!

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

Patong's trash hero rewarded for collecting garbage in filthy canal | News by The Thaiger

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