Connect with us

Thai Life

Thinking Green: Striking a beach balance

Legacy Phuket Gazette




PHUKET: “We need chairs,” are the plaintive cries in the press, demanding a return to the old model of endless rows of deck chairs and umbrellas. Meanwhile, the vendors are crying, “Our businesses have been hit badly.”

And at the same time, environmentalists are claiming, “Our natural treasures are being directly influenced by coastal law enforcement, pollution, construction, density of vendors and litter management.”

These are all interests in the current discussions about the policy and management of our beaches.
Phuket’s beauty and mystique has, for many years, beckoned those seeking paradise. Until the 1970s, Phuket had been largely undeveloped. Starting in the 1980s, the sandy beaches and the western coast of the island quickly started to become a tourist haven.

The tourism industry continued to grow until the tsunami hit the island on December 24, 2004. But the damaged buildings were quickly restored and Phuket continued on its path of intense development. As of the 2010 census, there were some 520,000 people residing on the island, including 119,000 foreigners and 68,000 migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

Expected tourist arrivals in 2015 are 24.71 million, a decrease from the year earlier by 6.93 per cent, but this year’s overall arrivals could reach 28.36 million, generating about 1.29 trillion baht from foreign travellers and 800 billion baht locally. These figures can be impacted by fluctuations in overseas economies and, in particular, the launch of the Asean Economic Community.

With so much human pressure, Phuket’s environment has undergone some dramatic changes. The new government has taken action to establish a more integrated approach to Phuket’s development and environment management, resulting in the rehabilitation of coastal eco-systems for sustainable livelihoods and disaster-risk reduction.

It is a good time to take stock. Tourism is one of the two mainstays of Phuket’s economy, and many tourists come to Phuket for its famous white sand and clean marine waters.

The halt on beach encroachment by restaurants and vendors offering sunloungers and umbrellas, as well as jet-skis, will allow some breathing space for wider consultation, before the cumulative effects of pollution that threaten to overwhelm nature’s resilience mechanisms take hold.

The current consultations must take into account all the long-term sustainable interests for Phuket,
as laid down in the Phuket Sustainability Indicator Report also known as SEEK (Society, Environment, Economy & Knowledge).

Following the model of SEEK would steer the current community discussions into a sustainable course for the beaches, the seas and watercourses, and the business hinterland. Economic interests would be balanced against the need to protect the environment long into the future, and would ensure that our society is strong and the interests of every person protected, whether they be local, migrant workers or long-term or short-term visitors.

Local and community ownership would empower and enable community volunteer groups working with other stakeholders to manage the beach conditions, water quality monitoring and the management of waste.

The government has given us the chance to contribute to the future management of our beaches. We should embrace this chance while we have it.

— Dr Peter W Harris


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

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)51 mins ago

Hotel staff in close contact with Omicron confirmed to be negative in second test

Video1 hour ago

Gramma mistakes, Homemade coffee, Bhutan | Thaiger Bites | Ep.76

Southeast Asia2 hours ago

Myanmar ousted leader’s prison sentence reduced to two years

Chon Buri2 hours ago

Tourists stranded an island off the coast of Sattahip rescued by Royal Thai Navy

Thailand2 hours ago

Thailand deploys “King Cobra” unit at Myanmar border to monitor illegal crossings

Phuket4 hours ago

Thai Airways offering round trip Sydney-Phuket flights

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Chiang Mai4 hours ago

1 tourist killed, 8 wounded in crash while on tour of Chiang Mai mountain

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

Hotel staff in close contact to Omicron case tests positive for Covid, variant not confirmed

World5 hours ago

Indonesia and Malaysia expected to launch vaccinated travel lane early next year

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

No need to panic over Thailand’s first Omicron case, says PM

Thailand6 hours ago

Thailand Top Stories | Don’t panic! 6 Belgians saved, Thai TV in Britain | December 7

World6 hours ago

Rohingya accuse Facebook of promoting hate speech in US$150 billion lawsuit

Thailand6 hours ago

The seven mannequins, Luxury car market, Unsafe air in BKK | Good Morning Thailand | Ep.147

World6 hours ago

US confirms diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics over human rights abuses

Tourism7 hours ago

Recovery of Thailand’s international tourism sector likely to take years

Thailand3 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand9 months ago

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

Tourism9 months ago

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

Phuket9 months ago

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

Tourism10 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand10 months ago

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

Tourism10 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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

Thailand11 months ago

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