Connect with us

Thai Life

On Deck: Tonnes of trash killing our future

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET: The ‘crystal clear,’ ‘aqua blue’ sea off Phuket is a significant part of the island’s tourism offerings and attracts many visitors to this fair isle.

Those iconic sea, island and beach snorkelling images from the Tourism Authority of Thailand [TAT] campaigns have been around the world more times than an inter-continental jet.

Today’s reality, however, is somewhat different because the sea needs our help. We derive benefit from it but rarely invest in its upkeep and now the oceans around the world suffer from a huge trash problem.

Eight million tonnes of plastic was dumped into the world’s oceans from coastal communities in 2010 alone, and that figure is expected to increase tenfold in the next decade, according to a study by a group of scientists, published in Science earlier this year.

Phuket is not immune to this problem and while its waters appear clean, the volume of flotsam, jetsam and trash on the seabed is undoubtedly growing. This is easy to see on any day trip from Phuket, and even while swimming off Phuket’s coast or a nearby island.

We have all read about the damage to marine life caused by this trash and have also seen gruesome images of seals or turtles being strangled by plastic. We have seen images of marine animals that have choked on plastic bags and yet we do nothing.

Simply put, trash in Phuket’s waters means the death of Phuket’s tourism industry. Sounds a little over the top? Not at all. The aforementioned study looks at the worst offenders and of the Top 10 worst-offending countries in the world, eight are in Asia. Something you will not find in any TAT brochure is that Thailand is among this Top 10.

Much of the surface waste you can see off Phuket is everyday trash: food packaging, styrofoam boxes, plastic bags, plastic bottles – the kind of products that easily float many miles and are used regularly on boat tours.

It is time to put a stop to this. It is time that standards are set, and those standards set high and then enforced.

Ocean trash is no one person’s fault, but a collective responsibility that requires a joint effort to fix. Trash from elsewhere can float into Phuket’s waters, the same as trash that is dropped overboard here can make its way to other areas.

The Cambodian-flagged cargo ship Sinaran Andaman, which recently crashed onto the rocks and sank off Coral Island, is an ecological tragedy for Phuket, the proportions of which have yet to be discovered. The most immediate and obvious environmental impact is the trash on the water’s surface.

Quoted in a recent Gazette report, Department of Marine and Coastal Resources [DMCR] Phuket office Chief Thanet Munnoy said, “We have already found some items washing up on Phuket and some on Koh Lanta. This is a big deal. We will need the help of the Phuket Marine Office to collect all the waste.”

When recently visiting the spot where the cargo ship went down, while the salvage operation was still underway, you could see plastic food packaging floating on the surface of Chalong Bay all the way over to Lone Island .

How will that be cleaned up? I doubt that the majority will. Currents will disperse and move the trash elsewhere and ‘what we don’t see, won’t hurt us’ will take over.

It’s not good enough. A joint approach to cleaning up the seas is needed. Phuket deserves better.

Duncan Worthington is a long time Phuket resident and through Infinity Communications [www.infinity-comms.com] consults to leading consumer brands and hospitality and marine clients in Thailand. In his ‘spare time’ he runs the marine portal www.MarineScene.asia. #OnDeckPhuket

— Duncan Worthington

 

Want more from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Thaiger Talk Forums.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Vietnam strikes deal to manufacture vaccines, but which brand?

Crime5 hours ago

Motorbike thieves arrested after a million baht of bikes stolen

Tourism8 hours ago

300 tourism businesses given SHA Plus certification in Phuket

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Chiang Rai8 hours ago

Police warn child pornography is a serious matter after teacher caught downloading clips

Weather9 hours ago

Tropical storm Koguma brings heavy rain to North, Northeast

Thailand9 hours ago

(Another) poll (also) shows Thais’ lack of confidence in vaccine campaign

Politics10 hours ago

Despite rumours, PM and goverment not planning early election

Thailand10 hours ago

Thai PM not happy with soccer gambling

Coronavirus (Covid-19)11 hours ago

Doctors demand the government be more honest about Covid-19

Songkhla12 hours ago

Songkhla officials investigate pricey street lamps

Crime12 hours ago

Illegal casino operator accused of 4 charges including murder

Thailand12 hours ago

Survey shows lack of confidence in Government’s handling of vaccinations

Thailand13 hours ago

Goverment kind of discloses what the secret budget is spent on

Weather13 hours ago

Penis statue works as village sees rain after erection

Eastern Thailand14 hours ago

Man busted for allegedly possessing over 100 marijuana plants, selling marijuana online

Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism3 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending