BANGKOK (AFP): Some of Thailand’s most popular beaches are disappearing as man-made structures speed up coastal erosion, reports said today. A 115-kilometer (71-mile) stretch of beaches famed amongst Thais and foreigners since the reign of King Rama VI early last century has been severely eroded, the Bangkok Post reported. The resort regions of Hua Hin, Cha-am and Petchaburi, south of Bangkok, have lost thousands of tonnes of sand, said Saksit Tridech, secretary general of the Office of Environmental Policy and Planning (OEPP). Royal retreats frequented by the kings of old Siam, including Maruekathaiwan Palace, the first seaside royal residence, built by King Rama VI on Cha-am beach, have been damaged. Kaikangwol Palace in Hua Hin, built during the reign of King Rama VII, has also been affected, the report said. “Nature itself does erode this coastline. But the accelerated pace is man-made,” said OEPP erosion expert Nawarat Krairapanond. Piers, buildings and retaining walls continuously springing up have accelerated erosion caused by the currents in the Gulf of Thailand as well as rain and storms brought on by the annual monsoon season, the report said. Millions of visitors each year flood Thailand’s beaches, famous for their white sand and crystal waters, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into government coffers.
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